I interviewed Victoria in Tbilisi Georgia in CEE Meeting September 2023. Here is her interview and after it, a brief text. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:What_Is_Happening_In_Wikipedia_Russia.webm
The Wikipedia community in Russia is divided about the war in Ukraine because the Wikipedia consists of people of whom some are in Russia, some abroad. There are a lot of processes happening. Since beginning of the full scale war in Ukraine there were two fork projects, that copied Russian Wikipedia, about two million articles. They were made by people who had prominent position in the society.
The first project was Runiversalis and the next was published in July 2023 called Ruwiki. Victoria asses that they are successful already because they remain stable. When Runiversalis was published everybody went to look at it, it crashed. Everything points out that it is backed by private money from a Russian bank. It is still below the Russian Wikipedia in Yandex search. They buy advertisements you can see on the side. They have a significant amount of editors that left Russian Wikipedia because they were able to pay them money. It is always every Wikipedians dream to earn money editing Wikipedia.
The community of Russian Wikipedia is ten times larger than the number that they have in the clones. Victoria says that she does not know for how long the Russian fork will remain stable, if the money runs out.
What is the situation with the small languages Wikipedias in Russia? Victoria says that the largest projects like the Tatar and Bashkir Wikipedias are supported by the fork. She hopes that the smaller Russian languages will stay with the Wikipedia, the real one, not the copy. The Russian Wikipedia can afford to loose five or ten (active) editors, but for the smaller ones it means that they stop developing.
Heikki Kastemaa Kulttuurinavigaattori