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Jimmy Wales, Kazakhstan, Tony Blair and Wikipedia: A Timeline

For an overview of this story, please see last week’s post, Jimmy Wales in: The Dictator and I.

The following timeline, compiled by a group of Wikipediocracy site trustees, chronicles some less-well-known facts about the development of the Kazakh-language Wikipedia, its ties to the Kazakhstan government, the Wikimedia Foundation, Jimmy Wales, Tony Blair, and other related persons and entities. We hope that this raw data will aid further discussion of this topic in the New Year. To view or participate in a forum discussion on this topic, please click here. If you have additional relevant information not included here, please contact us at media@wikipediocracy.com.

2007 16 January 2007 – Jimmy Wales is named a Young Global Leader by The World Economic Forum in Davos, as is his eventual wife, Kate Garvey, formerly Tony Blair’s diary secretary. Tony Blair also speaks at the event, his third consecutive annual visit. (Blair will become co-chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in 2008, and Tony Blair Associates will later form deep business ties with the Kazakhstan government. Garvey will go on to a director role with Freud Communications, where she will count the Tony Blair Faith Foundation as a client. She will wed Jimmy Wales on 6 October 2012 – his third marriage.) 30 March 2007 – Oralgaisha Omarshanova disappears. She is a journalist working at Zakon i Pravosudiye (Kazakh: Закон и правосудие), a newspaper based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, investigating and publicizing government corruption. September 2007 – Jimmy Wales and other World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders attend the WEF “Summer Davos” summit (“Annual Meeting of the New Champions”) in Dalian, China. 2008 January 2008 – Tony Blair co-chairs the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. 14–16 March 2008 – Richard Branson assembles a meeting between Jimmy Wales, Tony Blair, Vinod

…continue reading Jimmy Wales, Kazakhstan, Tony Blair and Wikipedia: A Timeline

Jimmy Wales in: The Dictator and I

Wikipedian of the Year runs wiki organisation funded by an authoritarian regime

 

By Andreas Kolbe

 

[To view or participate in a forum discussion on this topic, please click here.]

The other day an obscure news article caught my eye online: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013. Underneath one of Jimmy Wales’ favourite pictures of himself – the one where he is wearing a blue business shirt, nonchalantly leaning against a wall, his famous blue eyes smiling at the reader – the text said, “Wikipedia founder is expected to visit Kazakhstan in 2013, according to Rauan Kenzhekhanuly, founder of WikiBilim Foundation [an NGO to develop the Kazakh Wikipedia].” A little further below, the article said that the project to expand the Kazakh Wikipedia was supported by Karim Massimov, until recently the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, and today President Nazarbaev’s chief of staff.

This piqued my curiosity. Supported by whom? Expanding the various language versions of Wikipedia is not usually a task performed with government support, least of all support from the sort of government Kazakhstan has.

An authoritarian regime

Kazakhstan, oil-rich and the worldwide leader in natural uranium production, is ruled by Nursultan Nazarbaev, a Soviet politburo veteran who has been president of Kazakhstan for as long as the nation has existed (1991). He was already its president when it was still a Soviet republic: he has been in power since 1990. A 2007 constitutional amendment made Nazarbaev personally exempt from any term limits, enabling him to remain President for life. He won his most recent term extension in April 2011, running against token opposition and winning 95% of the vote in an election deemed unfair by international observers.

His presidency has been criticised for human rights abuses and the curtailment of press freedoms, including attempts to control

…continue reading Jimmy Wales in: The Dictator and I