The investigative website “Important Stories (iStories),” working with the Wikiganda project, has identified how almost a hundred members of Russia’s elite have been editing their biographies on both Russian and English versions of Wikipedia in an attempt to distance themselves from President Vladimir Putin and his so-called “special military operation (SVO)” by removing references to their [Russian] citizenship, property, sanctions and ties to the regime.

Wikiganda is a non-profit organization that monitors information manipulation in the online encyclopedia. They believe that Wikipedia, is fighting a never-ending “war of edits,” with the Russian-language version edited by more than 10,000 people and hundreds of thousands revising the English-language encyclopedia each month.

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At the same time, the Kremlin has been trying to get rid of Wikipedia by way of fines and public claims that the encyclopedia is publishing fake news about the “SVO” and trying to replace it with Russian versions: “Knowledge.Wiki” and the “Ruviki” platforms.

The iStories report gives examples of the lengths some of the top men in Moscow and beyond have gone to obscure their past.

It tells how in March 2024 the EU lifted sanctions against Arkady Volozh, co-founder of Yandex, in exchange for him resigning as CEO, selling his part of the business and publicly condemning the war. He now lives in Israel where he says on his website that he is a Kazakh-born Israeli technology entrepreneur. Wikiganda says that a Tel Aviv IP address has tried to remove references to his past on Wikipedia several times.

British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 18 May 2024
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British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 18 May 2024

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Another example is entries relating to billionaire Dmitry Pumpyansky, owner of the Pipe Metallurgical Company, where attempts were made to remove information about EU and US sanctions against him as well as seizure of his 72-meter superyacht.

The biography of Igor Altushkin, founder of the Russian Copper Company, was sanitized to remove information about his properties in the UK and that of billionaire and State Duma deputy Andrei Skoch, was censored to remove reference to seizing of his $90 million personal plane and his alleged connections to the Solntsevskaya organized crime group, were removed.

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Attempts have been made to clean up Wikipedia entries relating to the unsavory aspects of the personal lives of Putin’s daughters, Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova.

Entries for Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut have been massaged to minimize his links to Russia describing him as a London-based entrepreneur with Israeli citizenship.

Even closer to Putin attempts have been made to remove reference to an investigation Alexei Navalny's Foundation for the Fight Against Corruption (FBK) into the luxurious lifestyle of Nikolai Choles, the son of the Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov.

The iStories report lists dozens of Russian businessmen and apparatchiks who, having once played up their entries on the encyclopedia, now seem desperate to remove the evidence of their past.

The article quotes an expert on Wikipedia who says some of them may have never wanted an entry to be made but someone did and now they have to try to get control of the message. He says that many of the sanctions imposed by European officials used the Wikipedia entry as the starting point for their investigations.

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A Wikipedia editor says that for those Russian businessmen who live (or want to live) in the West, they want to totally delete their articles. It can cost thousands of dollars to remove a Wikipedia article and then there is no guarantee that it will not reappear somewhere else sometime. In the meantime, these oligarchs and others will do their best to: “Be lower than the grass, quieter than water,” in terms of their Wiki profile as the iStories expert put it.

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Comments (2)

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Mark Rockford
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Absolutely pathetic. It just goes to show how much the Russians are invested in their information war. It is everything to them. They have been spreading propaganda and misinformation in the US and the West for years. They created the entire Q-Anon affair in order to bring the credulous and paranoid far-Right under their control. To this day, scores of Russian trolls are on the web in comments sections of news sites, trying everything they can to turn people against supporting Ukraine.

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John
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Good research and thanks for tracking this folks at Wikiganda.

So putler's kleptocrats and VIPs in russia know russia's ship is sinking! They are trying to change their identity and erase their past ties with that russian psychopath.

Important to keep track of those who gained their wealth through corruption and other crimes. These in particular will try to hide their links with 'godfather' putler, as their past illustrates they are okay with the most horrendous of crimes providing the instigator satiates their greed. Not the kind citizens to which I'd want my nations to issue a passport. People hold your leadership and bureaucrats accountable for granting such people citizenship in your nation. For example, why are so many of these thugs getting both an Israeli passport and reinvented history. Who was running your country when this occurred? The same unethical leadership / bureaucrats that would grant a passport to Hitler's cronies as well?

Maybe once karma catches up with the worst offenders at their Hague trials an 'Inglorious Bastards" style publicly viewable branding is in order. To help them garner the public shame and distain they deserve in their remaining days alive

If research and trials proves a russian kleptocrats or bureaucrats blind allegiance to putler, let that enormous gap in their ethics be their final epitaph in all vetted historical artifacts. Their 'resume' locked in time for all around them to see .

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