In-article:

Wikipedia: a Belarusian editor arrested for “spreading false anti-Russian information”


Benjamin Logerot

March 14, 2022 at 11:51 a.m.

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Mark Bernstein

Mark Bernstein © Sergey Mikhalenko

On March 11, Mark Bernstein, one of the most prolific contributors to the Wikipedia
Russian, was arrested in Belarus for having “ spread false anti-Russian information on the platform regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He faces 15 years in prison under the new anti-fake news law signed by Vladimir Putin at the beginning of March. The Wikimedia Foundation calls on its contributors to be cautious.

Censorship war

The Belarusian website Zerkalo announced on March 11 the arrest – by the infamous General Directorate against Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBOPiK) – of Mark Bernstein, contributor to the Russian Wikipedia living in Minsk. He is accused of having shared anti-Russian fake news on the Russian Wikipedia page of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 56-year-old contributor, who has been active on the platform for many years, had his personal information (including his social media, Wikipedia handle and workplace) shared on the GUBOPiK’s public Telegram channel, which has allowed the intervention of the security forces against him. A photo of the man with all of his information appeared in the clear, and was followed by a video of his arrest which has not been seen since the show went private.

He would have been sentenced, to begin with, to 15 days’ arrest for “ disobeying a lawful order or request from an official » but he risks up to 15 years in prison since the new anti-fake news law signed by Vladimir Putin, ally of the Belarusian power of Alexander Lukashenko.

Arrested for his ideas

Mark Bernstein, aka Pessimist2006, was one of Wikipedia’s biggest Russian-language contributors, with over 200,000 contributions since his account was created in 2008. According to his own Wikipedia page, updated in many languages ​​with this news, we learn that Bernstein has always been interested in censorship with in particular a great work carried out on censorship in the Soviet Union.

It is unclear what contributions from him in the article on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to his arrest, however, according to the English Wikipedia, Bernstein faced widespread criticism from Russian contributors, l ‘accusing of not taking the neutral side requested by Wikipedia. According to an article by Slatemany debates have taken place within the community of Russian contributors, divided between total neutrality, pro-Russian visions of the war and, conversely, followers of the facts who qualify this as an invasion and not like a ” special operation for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine “.

Bernstein, interviewed for the article, claimed that “ Russian troops invaded the territory of Ukraine. It’s just a fact, not a point of view “. It is perhaps this statement that led to his arrest after a denunciation by a contributor dissatisfied with his position.

Source: Slate
, Wikipedia
, The Verge



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