Russia has ordered several internet service providers to block Wikipedia throughout the country after the volunteers who run the user-generated online encyclopedia refused to delete an article.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications watchdog, said in a statement on Monday that the offending article — an entry about charas, an Indian form of hashish — was banned under a recent court decision in Cherny Yar, a town of 8,000 people on the southern reaches of the Volga River.
Russian Wikipedia editors had changed the URL of the page in the hope that this would remove the offending information from the page in the court decision. The page is now a disambiguator for several pages named “Charas,” including an island on the remote Indigirka river in northeastern Siberia and two Indian films of that name. Roskomnadzor, however, said that the page would remain banned until the offending material is removed from the site. “The illegal character of the information posted to Wikipedia has been confirmed by expert analysis and a corresponding decision of the Federal Drug Control Service of Russia,” the statement said.