Russian politician builds sinister ‘Wikipedia’ of ‘toxic content’. And yes, it includes gay people

Russia tech entrepreneur and politician Igor Ashmanov

A politician and entrepreneur in Russia is building a Wikipedia-style official “catalogue” of “toxic content”. And yes, it includes gay people.

Igor Ashmanov is a Russian tech entrepreneur who is also co-chair of the Great Fatherland political party and sits on Russia’s Human Rights Council.

According to RT, on Monday (22 November), Ashmanov said he had created a “catalogue” of “toxic content” that he was planning on presenting to president Vladimir Putin at the next meeting of the Human Rights Council.

He described it as being modelled in a similar way to Wikipedia, and said it would categorise content into different levels of toxicity and mark them when they appear on the internet.

Ashmanov said the purpose of the catalogue was to flag toxic content for internet users in Russia, even if the subject matter won’t be banned “any time soon”.

Topics in the catalogue will include LGBT+ content, violence, radical feminism, bestiality, “child-free lifestyles” and the “dangers” of vaccinations.

Ashmanov said he had already discussed the plan with the chair of the Human Rights Council, Valery Fadeev, and added: “Creating a registry of toxic content is a way to do something about this grey area.”

The catalogue would require cooperation from service providers and social media networks in Russia.

Fadeev told Moscow newspaper Vedomosti: “Censorship is forbidden in Russia, and any interference with content causes public tension.

“There are extreme cases, such as Nazism and extremism, and laws prohibit such content. And there’s also content that isn’t directly banned.

“Ashmanov’s idea is that society itself regulates these borderline situations.”

Many of the topics to be included in Ashmanov’s catalogue were recently described as “extremist” by Andrei Tsyganov, chairman of a commission for the protection of children at the Roskomnadzor communications regulator.

In September, he insisted that LGBT+, radical feminist, and child-free groups, as well as furries, should all be officially recognised as having “extremist ideologies”.

Branding the groups as “extremists”, the same category as neo-Nazis, would “expand the rights of law enforcement”, he said, and “untie the hands of our law enforcement officers” and the communications regulator.