Russian "Cheech and Chong" fans, rejoice! The Russian language Wikipedia page for "smoking Cannabis" is no longer under the gun from government censors, but to get totally free and clear of the law, it did have to hand over all of its paraphernalia.
Last week, Russian communications watchdog Roscomnadzor confirmed to RT that the page had been added to an Internet blacklist of sites with banned content launched by the Russian government last year.
The pot page is apparently just one of a handful on Wikipedia deemed to be in violation of Russian law (other includes an online library hosting "The Anarchist Cookbook" and its recipe for marijuana soup), but it appears that it may have been the last
spliff straw for the government. Possession of marijuana is illegal in Russia, and penalties can often include harsh prison sentences.
After a spokesperson for the Roscomnadzor said that failing to address the blacklist status of some of its pages could lead to a total Russian Wikipedia blackout, editors started hacking away at the page. This week, the censors declared that the pot smoking entry is safe for the eyes of Mother Russia's Big Brother.
Apparently it was the bongs that had the Kremlin connection crying "Kosyakova madness."
A comparison of last week's version of the page with the current iteration reveals that pretty much all photos and references to any smoking devices more complicated than a simple straight pipe have been removed to gain the government's approval. In fact, the entire substantial section of the article on "smoking devices" has disappeared from the current version, as has a reference to spiritual use of the Ganja by the Rastafari.
There was one dubious addition to the new version of the article, though. Scroll to the bottom and you'll find this:
In Russia, the use of citizens without prescription drug made from hemp, is an administrative offense punishable by a fine of between 4 to 5 thousand rubles or administrative arrest for up to 15 days, and foreign citizens, in addition, subject to administrative expulsion from the Russian Federation.
Thanks for making it crystal clear, comrade.
(Via The Daily Dot)