Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wikipedia Tags and Eastern European Politics

If you look at Wikipedia, you notice at the top of article pages (and sometimes within articles!) these goofy tags chiding the nameless editors to "merge" this with that, or calls for deletion or extreme rewrites because of bias, etc. It would have been far more intelligent to make these tags visible only to the editors/contributors than leaving them out for the hoi-polloi to see, but then true intelligence has never been a Wikipedian strong suite.

Notice in this article on the fringe political ideology of National Bolshevism (which combines Fascism with a degraded Marxism-Leninism) we have two tags from June of 2007 and one from April of this year. In seven years they haven't been able to figure out if the article contains "original research" or what additional citations it needs.

Above is a sub-section of the same article, on the Russian National Bolshevik Party run by novelist/provacateur-intellectual Eduard Limonov (Savinko), a party which has been banned from participating in Russian presidential elections; Limonov himself used to write hilarious broken-English columns for the defunct eXile magazine in Moscow. Notice the circularity of the section below the tag, and the fact that the "verification" request was posted in 2010; my screen shot dates from late 2014.

But enough of the introduction, let's hit the center-mass of this flabby moose: the Holodomor and Ukrainian nationalism - as seen on Wikipedia. The Holodomor was a famine in the Ukraine in 1932-33, and that's as far as you can get before everything becomes contested and people are willing to label you a "Holodomor denier" if you don't go along with all of it.....because unlike the Nazi-run Holocaust, there were no Holodomor camps with crematoria, piles of shoes, etc., just photos of starved people and others of dead bodies on streets with unheeding passers-by. There are no "verification" tags on the Holodomor article, but there are tags on this:

Possibly because it mentions famine in other areas of the USSR at the same time as the Holodomor, but then if you read the article, it re-uses photos from the Holodomor article! Related to this is are the articles on Douglas Tottle and Lubomyr Luciuk, who are handcuffed together in Wikipedia-land. Both are Canadians; Tottle was a trade union activist who wrote a book on the famine, Luciuk is the Canadian-Ukrainian history professor who called Tottle's book "...a particularly base example of famine-denial literature..." The book in question is Fraud, Famine, and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard (1987), a work that is now very hard to find outside of harsh-looking pdfs, and badmouthed on Wikipedia,, and Metapedia. The Wikipedia page on Luciuk has this:
at the top of it (because it reads like a semi-hagiography), while Tottle's BLP is mostly a denunciation of his book, and right now has defaced quotations. As far as I can tell, Douglas Tottle is either quietly dead, living under another name, or avoiding the Internet entirely because it is impossible to find any reference to him outside of his book and the storm it caused (it was examined by the 1988-90 "International Commission of Inquiry Into the 1932–1933 Famine in Ukraine"; one of the participants thought Tottle had Soviet help, Tottle was invited to speak but declined.)

The article above features a bit of weirdness at the end of lumpy writing:

"Yevhen Konovalets, the former commander of the elite Sich Riflemen unit of the Ukrainian military, led the UVO. West Ukrainian political parties secretly funded the organization. Although it engaged in acts of sabotage and attempted to assassinate the Polish Chief of State Józef Piłsudski in 1921, it functioned more as a military protective group rather than as a terrorist underground.[12] When in 1923 the Allies recognized Polish rule over western Ukraine, many members left the organization. The legal Ukrainian parties turned against the UVO's militant actions, preferring to work within the Polish political system. As a result, the UVO turned to Germany and Lithuania for political and financial support. It established contact with militant anti-Polish student organizations, such as the Group of Ukrainian National Youth, the League of Ukrainian Nationalists, and the Union of Ukrainian Nationalist Youth. After preliminary meetings in Berlin in 1927 and Prague in 1928, at the founding congress in Vienna in 1929 the veterans of the UVO and the student militants met and united to form the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. Although the members consisted mostly of Galician youths, Yevhen Konovalets served as its first leader and its leadership council, the Provid, comprised mostly veterans and was based abroad.[13][14] 9+10 =21"

Does that bit of weird math have some symbolic meaning, like the fraction 14/88 does to Neo-Nazis?


I've been told that all of the Slavic-language Wikipedias are run by flaming nationalists, and that the Hungarian Wikipedia is full of direct translations from the English-language Wikipedia with anti-Semitic gobbledegook thrown in to make the Arrow Cross wannabees happy. Wikipedia dysfunction: a feature, not a bug.

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