Putin calls for Russian alternative to Wikipedia

Moscow (AFP) –


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called for the creation of a more "reliable" national version of the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.

The president told a Kremlin meeting of a committee on the future of the Russian language: "As for Wikipedia... it's better to replace it with the new Big Russian Encyclopaedia in electronic form," RIA Novosti news agency reported.

"At least that will be reliable information, presented in a good, modern way."

Putin was referring to a Russian encyclopaedia that came out between 2007 and 2014 and is currently only available in paper form.

The government plans to allocate nearly 1.7 billion rubles ($26.7 million) towards a Russian online reference resource similar to Wikipedia in the next three years, according to government documents published in September.

Putin was responding to a comment by a university rector who complained about the use of Wikipedia by courts to reach verdicts.

The widely used Russian-language Wikipedia, known as Vikipedia, says it has more than 1.5 million articles.

In 2015, Russia briefly banned Wikipedia over an entry on a form of cannabis.

Putin made the call after a controversial law entered force last week on the creation of an internet network that can be isolated from international servers and filtered to prevent users accessing banned sites.