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Russian Region Looking to Erase Nuclear Past With Google Juice

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, July 27 2011

American politicians and political operatives might go so far as to try and edit their Wikipedia pages, but Russian authorities now have them one-upped when it comes to Internet whitewashing:

Authorities in the irradiated region of Chelyabinsk have announced that they will pay the equivalent of £8,000 in order to try to alter the region's "online footprint" so that people looking for information on Chelyabinsk on the internet read "positive or neutral evaluations of the ecological situation" there.

Though the region and the town of the same name do not technically figure in a list of the ten most polluted places in the world anymore, the situation remains dire.

At least three accidents at the Mayak nuclear plant in Chelyabinsk bathed the region in radiation, The Telegraph's Andrew Osborn reports. But officials, claiming the ecological problems are exaggerated, per Osborn, have put out a call for developers to game the search results on Google and the Russian search engine Yandex so that terms like "radiation in Chelyabinsk" and "the dirtiest city on the planet" return more favorable results.

(Via Evgeny Morozov)
(With Becky Kazansky)