The news follows a discussion between Putin and Maxim Dreval, the CEO of the state-sponsored Znanie Foundation, a group tasked with improving Russian civil society. Since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has banned several news websites, social media apps and the spread of false information about the war.
Speaking to Mr Dreval, Putin said: “Objective, useful, thoughtful, but also beautifully and masterfully presented information is in great demand because it is impossible to use Wikipedia alone.”
However, the global online open source encyclopedia retaliated against Putin’s attempt to censor the website.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, a spokesperson for the Wikipedia Foundation said the group would not comply with Putin’s coercion.
The spokesperson said: “Russian-language Wikipedia is a crucial second draft of history, written by and for Russian-speakers around the world who volunteer their time to make reliable, unbiased information available to everyone.
“The volunteers who write and maintain Wikipedia apply standards of neutrality, verifiability and reliable secondary sources to ensure that articles are based on fact.
“Access to good information is even more important in times of crisis.
“The Wikimedia Foundation will continue to champion the ability of volunteers to contribute knowledge to Wikipedia. »
The group mentioned that Moscow tried to impose financial sanctions on the website in an attempt to deter or silence the group.
Wikipedia said: “Over the past few months, the Russian government has made several attempts to target factual and verified information on the Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects.
“A Moscow court has imposed two fines on the Wikimedia Foundation for failing to comply with requests from the Russian government to remove content from Wikipedia.
“We responded in favor of everyone’s human right to freedom of expression and access to information.
“We have not complied with any orders from the Russian government to date and we will continue to comply with our mission to provide free knowledge to the world.”
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Speaking of the ongoing struggle to promote freedom of expression in Russia and Ukraine during the conflict, the group previously said, “The Wikimedia Foundation is actively working with affected communities to identify potential threats to information about Wikimedia projects, and supports volunteer editors and administrators who serve as the first line of defense against the manipulation of facts and knowledge.
“We join those calling for a peaceful end to the conflict and will continue to support the efforts of those contributing to a strong digital commons that keeps knowledge open, neutral and free.”
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Wikipedia is a vital source of information in Russia and has a large user base.
Globally, Russian Wikipedia is the seventh largest web page language base in the world.
Russian readers rely on its 1.7 million articles for their education and professional development.
In a 2018 survey of over 67,600 respondents visiting Russian Wikipedia, over 41% used the platform for intrinsic learning.
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Russia has also banned other major websites, including Britain’s BBC, Germany’s DW and Radio Free Europe.
Instagram, Twitter and other mainstream social media sites have been blocked, with Russians forced to use VK instead of Facebook, which still has 97 million monthly users on the site.
In addition, the Kremlin passed a law criminalizing the dissemination of false information about the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The use of the term war or conflict still remains banned in Russia, with Moscow insisting the media refer to it as “the special operation”.