[Wikimedia-l] Russian Wikipedia goes on strike

Yaroslav M. Blanter putevod at mccme.ru
Thu Jul 12 17:48:38 UTC 2012

On Thu, 12 Jul 2012 13:34:46 -0400, Nathan wrote:
> Is there a "service provider" exemption for entities like Wikimedia 
> in
> Russia?

Not that I know of.

Is it possible that making the Russian Wikipedia inaccessible for a
> period in order to protest a Russian law might be considered 
> political
> activism in Russia?

Legally, no, it is not political activism. From the point of view of 
having good relation with the authorities, this, of course, complicates 

I don't believe the WMF itself has any assets in
> Russia, but it seems like that wouldn't prevent the Russian 
> authorities
> from taking steps against the Foundation if the Russian Wikipedia 
> community
> decides to take steps like this again.

Formally, they can shut down access to Russian Wikipedia on November 1. 
In reality, I doubt very much they are going to do it. I do not see what 
they can gain, and the public opinion, however weak, will not approve 

> What about other countries? If the Arabic Wikipedia decides to 
> protest laws
> in Saudi Arabia or Egypt, or the Chinese Wikipedia against the PRC, 
> etc.,
> has anyone at the Foundation evaluated if there are any risks 
> involved or
> potential repercussions?

I guess in this case nobody asked the Foundation beforehand. And I 
think the fact that nobody from wm.ru cared to show up here to provide 
info and answer questions (Victoria and myself are not members and none 
of us is a Russian resident, though I am a Russian citizen and was 
flying from Russia just last weekend) is in my opinion very illustrative 
in this respect.

But indeed a good question is would it be for instance a good idea to 
blackout Chinese Wikipedia to protest the firewall. My opinion is no. It 
would expose a number of people to immediate danger without any obviousl 
benefits, since the probability that the blackout can change anything is 
increasingly low.


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