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Smart Region.RU
Using possibilities of Wikimedia projects for
supporting regional development of the Russian Federation

Main page   About   Strategy   Dimensions   Wiki-Lists   Regions   Ethnicities   Multilingualism   Stats  
My systemic participation stage started when I realized Wikipedia's importance for long-term preservation of linguistic and cultural diversity on the planet. Today I confidently state that without active use of Wiki-technologies, in the future it will be difficult to preserve even such giants as Russian and Chinese, as well as respective cultures, not to mention smaller ones.[1]

To feel comfortable living in the knowledge economy, every resident of Tatarstan and Tatar world overall, should be able to actively and productively edit both Russian and English language versions of Wikipedia - by knowing how the community functions, how to communicate one's point, etc. It's much easier, quicker and less painful to start learning the ropes and getting used to the realities and expectations of the Wiki-environment by beginning to contribute into Wikimedia projects in the languages of Russia with fewer active participants than the Russian-language ones (such as via Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wiktionary etc. in Tatar).[2]

— 2018 Wikimedian of the Year Farkhad Fatkullin (Tatarstan, Russian Federation).

This page is about why bother doing this in the era of Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, automation, optimization and other cost-cutting for labor.

Project history[править]

Why Wikimedia[править]

The strongest aspect of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects is in their self-regulating environment, when participation in various activities thereof leads to growing potential of:

  • individual citizens (developing their socially valuable skills),
  • organizations and other entities (effective communication protocols, collaboration for the benefit of the interested stakeholders),
  • region overall (developing all important components of the information ecosystem).

Development of any region or society is only possible through engagement of its inhabitants (basically, politics). Principle politicians on the technological landscape of the 21st century are creative citizens that widen the scope of possible by own inventions or other discoveries.

Every millenial sees any organization's building or its staff to be as important, as the design of its website or timely and satisfactory response to the request sent electronically. In case of interesting portals or social networks, knowing the way they are organized and having an account therein is no less important than finding one's way in some settlement or having a passport (citizenship) of the country of residence.

In the world where the rules of the game can be transformed by anyone, engaging population means ability to change something important for all other humans on the planet right here and now - whether one is in the city, in the forest or a mountain-top. It won't be practical to allow any senior citizen, young specialist or a middle-schooler to change publicly visible text on Tatarstan.ru portal, website of the Russian Federation Government, official pages of international organizations in various social networks or search engine issued results, but citizens clearly need to gain experience of productive participation in the digital world somewhere, as well as learn to feel social belonging to and estimate own objective worth for those around. Wikipedia, which in 2017 was referred to by 1,4 billion unique gadgets on a monthly basis, as well as other projects of international volunteering Wikimedia movement seems to be the best platforms to satisfy these needs.

Smart region is a project about effective integration of Wikimedia opportunities into daily life of the society (schools, clubs, social institutions, colleges, business, governing structures) at the level of a settlement or a province.

By year 2018, artificial intelligence is already capable of analyzing both speech and texts, collecting information across the Internet, summarize it, formulate phrases and conduct reasonable dialogue with humans. Voice assistants in our smartphones are transforming our world, forcing us to rethink the role of the human.[3][4][5][6]

For comfortable living in such a decentralized Society 4.0 one must have the following key skills:

  1. asking appropriate questions,
  2. assessing reliability and correctness of information,
  3. quickly integrating new data into one's picture of the world, and consequently
  4. transforming one's behavioral stereotypes.

These skills of autonomous decision-making when dealing with data and information develop if purposefully trained. Citizens of all ages want and actually need to gain experience of productive participation in the digital world to have the sense of belonging to society and see one's objective value thereto.

How can citizens be taught cooperation in the digital world? This can be done using the portal based on such a cooperation and collaboration, adapted thereto.

Culture is not just preservation of tangible and spiritual (intangible) heritage, but also about shaping values that unite people, about creation of new cultural products. Modern level of cultural development requires integration with education system, tourism, sports, archiving and libraries. Culture should not only look back, but is also about looking into the future, being in line with current demands. This is especially true for the youth, who don't accept comparisons with the past and are prone to accept novelties, are very much sensitive to issues of trust and social justice, values opportunities realization of personal potential, benchmarking everything against best international practices. With all due importance to developing citizen responsibility, patriotism and following traditional values, government bodies must at the same time also prioritize developing effective models for early engagement of youth into professional pathways, projects-based activities, internalizing prospective competencies. The environment itself must be shaping value orientations and fashion for being successful, entrepreneurial spirit, mastering unique knowledge and skills, aspiring towards greater development. Needs of creative, talented youth and its associations deserve our special attention: it's important that we develop centers of creative industries, different resource centers. These usually attract people generating interesting unique solutions contributing towards raising quality of life. The experience we have developed around establishing similar sites in large cities of the Republic should be spread to all our municipalities. Our colleges and other institutions of educational institutions should be the key link in this work. Let me underline that our youth should be able to see attractive personal future within the Republic beginning in elementary school years, sense our interest in developing them, creating decent conditions for life and work.[7]

Rustam Minnikhanov (2017)

Why did it start with Tatarstan?[править]

Years of Wikipedia practices have shown that it not only shapes effectively cooperating community capable of dealing with a wide spectrum of issues, but that it is also a wonderful tool for preservation, dissemination and development of ethnic languages and cultural knowledge. Tatarstan experience in this regard became globally notable, which was recognized by both Wikimedia Foundation naming Farhad Fatkullin 2018 Wikimedian of the Year, and government of the Republic that acknowledged and started supporting Selet WikiSchool.

Innovative potential[править]

Truly valuable things in the era of attention economy and knowledge economy are not goods and services, not even specific content, but the skills of conscious choice of information sources, critical perception of available information and generation of added value — new knowledge. In such an environment, maximizing abilities of regions' citizens and guests to engage own creative potential for common good start becoming increasingly important, and this requires effective transfer of maximum social authority to the level of separate individuals and respective preparation and training thereof for living in such conditions. Innovations transform established cultural perceptions, generate new traditions and approaches. Ability to innovate, capacity to reconsider and change one's world are indeed the things that make humans human, filling people's lives with joy from being co-creators of the new world.

Cooperation in the digital society[править]

Global attractiveness of any territory is defined by the amount of joy and other utility that residents of any region bring into life of all other humans. Against different types of information overload, as well as politicization of аll sorts of questions painting things as either black or white all over the world, Wikimedia projects stay as best platform for constructive cooperation of unlimited number of representatives from various cultures. Teaching respective skills to the old and the young in all regions of Russia and wider around the world, inviting them to engage into similar collaboration to serve their settlement, region, country, culture etc. would both raise their self-esteem, levels of satisfaction, as well as quality of life.

Volunteer-supported Wikimedia projects are recommended for further use because it has no requirement for username registration, relies on user moderation, uses widely acknowledged types of free licenses for content, whilst existing community of participating volunteers, Wikimedia Founding principles as well as specialized ones within each project (see on the example of Wikipedia) provide for continuous improvement of available materials even on disputed topics. In Russia this project is developing by wiki-volunteers in the regions (under the aegis of "Wikimedia RU" Non-Profit Partnership, country chapter of the volunteering Wikimedia movement) in cooperation with local civil, educational, municipal and state institutions, and other interested partners.

Regional development[править]

The intensity of Wikipedia community's presence and activity within specific region, or a language is a litmus test for the degree of civil society strength within related environment, as well as its prospects for developing intellectual capital, creative industries and middle class.

Bright future[править]

Successful implementation of the project is an important part of building Wikimedia world, which will become a significant reality when its principles will be an important part of life for a good share of people in various regions of the planet. Some actions for achieving this reality in Russia can be also seen in the document titled Wikimedia roadmap.

See also[править]


  1. Interview "2018 Wikimedian of the Year Farkhad Fatkullin on why Wikipedia is so important / http://www.toptr.ru, 13 November 2018
    Original Russian:"Системно начал участвовать, когда осознал важность Википедии для долгосрочного сохранения языкового и культурного многообразия планеты. Сегодня уверенно заявляю, что без активного использования Вики, даже русский и китайский языки и соответствующие культуры в будущем будет сохранить сложно, не говоря о более малых"
  2. In the process of preparation to and presenting at the 7th Annual Conference of Wikimedians from the Central and Eastern European countries Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2018
  3. Quran, surah Al-Baqara, verses 30-34: «And (mention, O Muhammad), when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority." They said, "Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?" Allah said, "Indeed, I know that which you do not know." And He taught Adam the names - all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, "Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful." They said, "Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise." He said, "O Adam, inform them of their names." And when he had informed them of their names, He said, "Did I not tell you that I know the unseen (aspects) of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed." And (mention) when We said to the angels, "Prostrate before Adam"; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.»
  4. Quran, surah Al-Ahzab, verse 72: «Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man (undertook to) bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant.»
  5. Quran, surah Ṣād, verse 72: «So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My (created) soul, then fall down to him in prostration»
  6. Hadith / Prophet Muhammad is quoted as saying: "The Almighty created angels and endowed them with reason. He created animals and endowed them with desires. He created human and endowed him with both reason and desires. The one whose reason prevails over desire is higher than Angels. The one whose desire prevails over reason is lower than animals" / Russian: "Всевышний создал ангелов и наделил их разумом. Он создал животных и наделил их страстями. Он создал человека и наделил его как разумом, так и страстями. Тот, у кого разум преобладает над страстями, выше ангелов. Тот, у кого страсти преобладают над разумом, ниже животных"(quote from website of Gasan S. GASANOV "Creation of Humans").
  7. Annual address of Tatarstan President to the State Council of the Republic / https://sntat.ru/, 21 September 2017
    Original Russian:"Культура – это не только сохранение материального, духовного наследия, но и формирование объединяющих людей ценностей, создание новых культурных продуктов. Современный уровень развития культуры должен быть интегрирован с системой образования, сферой туризма, спорта, архивного и библиотечного дела. Культура должна быть обращена не только в прошлое, но и в будущее, соответствовать современным запросам. Особенно это касается молодежи, которая не приемлет сравнение с прошлым и легко подвержена новым влияниям, обостренно воспринимает доверие и социальную справедливость, ценит возможность для самореализации и ориентируется на лучшие мировые практики. При всей значимости воспитания гражданственности, патриотизма и следования традиционным ценностям приоритетными задачами органов власти также становятся выстраивание эффективной модели раннего вовлечения молодежи в профессиональные пробы, проектную деятельность, обучение перспективным компетенциям. Сама среда должна формировать ценностные ориентиры и моду на успех, предприимчивость, владение уникальными знаниями и навыками, стремление к развитию. Особое внимание надо уделять работе с талантливой, творческой молодежью и ее объединениями. Важно развивать центры креативных индустрий, ресурсные центры. Как правило, сюда приходят люди, генерирующие интересные, уникальные решения, направленные на улучшение качества жизни. Наработанный опыт создания площадок в крупных городах республики следует распространить на наши муниципалитеты. Ключевым звеном в этой работе должны быть наши вузы и другие учебные учреждения. Отмечу, молодежь должна со школьной скамьи видеть свое будущее в республике, ощущать нашу заинтересованность в ее развитии, в создании достойных условий для жизни и работы."