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War, what is it good for?

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By Kingsif, SSSB, YttriumShrew, Igordebraga, TheJoebro64, Mcrsftdog, and EpicPupper

The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine got the whole world concerned, and this reflects in the articles receiving upwards of millions of views and extensive edits to keep things up to date.

This traffic report is adapted from the Top 25 Report, prepared with commentary by Kingsif, SSSB, YttriumShrew, Igordebraga, TheJoebro64, Mcrsftdog.

Red and green light this is real, and so you go to war (February 20 to 26)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (February 20 to 26, 2022)
Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 Ukraine 6,749,176 Where to begin? A long, long, time ago, the hardiest of early humans decided to settle in the cold, cold shadow of the Ural Mountains. Fast forward some millennia and different groups of these people lived in different cities and had different ideas, as ever aware of the perpetual human conundrum of empathy and understanding. In this land was born an Empire, led by Russia (#9). As empires must, it fell, and so emerged a new empire, a nation of states under one ideology, the Soviet Union (#10). Russia was still the big brother. In this union, comrade Putin (#3) was given certain powers, working intelligence that had him straddle politics and military. Reportedly, his enamoration with the union's ideals was second to none, and he did not take it well when this empire, too, fell. Spectacularly. Out of big brother's shadow emerged Ukraine (#1), the nation of Mila Kunis, endless "Chernobyl fallout" jokes, and surprisingly good Eurovision entries. A new idea came to its people, many of whom identified only as its people, with this Western thing called democracy. It was not the only element of the political West that Ukraine began to adopt over the next three decades, moving ever further from its past leaders and brothers, while physically staying tucked right next to them.

Washington, D.C., 1949. A group of Western nations fear the influence and attack capabilities of the Soviet Union and sign the North Atlantic Treaty, creating an organisation (#6) to uphold it. A new empire, but without administrative powers. Over the next seventy years, more and more nations asked to become members (#8) – including, ultimately, many former Soviet nations still fearing Russia. Alone, they were small along Big Red's borders. With NATO, they became absorbed into a formerly-hostile blob sludging further east, promising defence but requiring reciprocity.
If you take out a globe, Russia looks as big as it sounds – hi, Siberia – but for all its land, it is sorely lacking in sea, an historic marker of power and present marker of independent trading capacity. The Arctic to the north is not only inhospitable, but must pass Scandinavia or North America – or shimmy around the Baltic. Ships from Kaliningrad still must pass the UK. North America and Japan await before the Russian Far East can sail into Asian waters. In Europe, Ukraine – the Crimean peninsula – blocks the way through the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. It is the last channel out that is away from a union able to water-lock Russia from all directions in one action. The Balkans join NATO through the early 2000s. In 2014, new tensions (#4) fully kick off. The Ukrainian president is deposed for swerving back towards Russian, rather than EU, influence. Independence referendums are held in the Donbas, regions of Ukraine closest to Russia with large separatist movements. The referendums are not recognised by the international community. Russia supports uprisings in the Donbas to attempt to enforce these referendums by force; it also seizes Crimea, but fails to take any land connecting its mainland to the peninsula. Ukrainian waters are still in the way. Unrest sizzles. Ukraine dams the water supply to Crimea. Russia holds a Winter Olympics. Two years later it gets kicked out of a Summer Olympics, and two years after that holds a World Cup.
Kyiv, 2019. A comedian, Zelenskyy (#5), wins the Ukrainian presidential election. Another television personality leading a country, and so close to Russia? Some were skeptical. Would Putin see him as an easy man to conquer? Russia and Ukraine agree to scale back tensions by the end of the year. In 2020, Zelenskyy announces his plans for Ukraine to join NATO. In 2021, NATO agrees to help them on their way to membership, needing no active conflicts first. Putin begins espousing the historic connections of Russia and Ukraine. A lot. He begins amassing his troops on the border. Few believed he would cross it. This week, he did (#2).

2 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine 5,939,016
3 Vladimir Putin 5,150,084
4 Russo-Ukrainian War 3,676,985
5 Volodymyr Zelenskyy 3,615,762
6 NATO 3,278,049
7 Anna Sorokin 2,928,999 Sorokin is the only thing preventing a top-ten monopoly of the ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis. She was born in the Soviet Union (#10), but her place on the list comes from being the subject of a Netflix show. From a quick, distracted, read of our article on her, it looks like she pretended to be an heiress and committed a lot of service theft: pictured is a hotel she lived in and was kicked out of for never paying.
8 Member states of NATO 2,667,378 See #1-6 (it's just easier that way)
9 Russia 1,590,249
10 Soviet Union 1,334,085

For now we stand alone, the world is lost and blown (February 27 to March 5)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (February 27 to March 5, 2022)

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine 7,647,610 Last week, Russia under #2 launched a full-scale invasion of its neighbor to the south-west, marking the largest war in Europe since World War II. They initially had hopes of a quick, relatively bloodless victory, but after their campaign stalled on the ground, they've shifted to an increasingly destructive bombing campaign against civilian areas, driving Europe's largest refugee crisis in recent history. International condemnation has followed, with large-scale sanctions inflicted on Russia in retaliation.
2 Vladimir Putin 5,065,066 When he rose to power in 1999, few would have predicted that this relatively unknown former KGB head would last very long, let alone become an international pariah. Yet here we are, 22 years later, as Vladimir Putin launches an invasion of Ukraine. The autocrat of Russia has committed far too many great crimes over the years; we can only hope this will be his last.
3 Ukraine 4,004,528 The second-largest country in Europe (by area) has been the centre of the world since Russia invaded it. Ukraine has resisted the invasion, with most main centres and most of the rest of the country remaining under Ukrainian control.
4 Volodymyr Zelenskyy 3,996,019 In 2019, a man previously known as a TV star and comedian was elected as the President of Ukraine in a landslide. Despite the mandate, few outside Ukraine took him seriously. Less than three years later, however, Zelenskyy has become the most recognisable face of Ukraine’s defence against Russia; he has been called a national hero and compared to Winston Churchill, and his leadership in the face of the invasion has been widely celebrated.
5 Russo-Ukrainian War 2,801,753 While the full-scale invasion of Ukraine is a recent development, Russia has effectively been at war with Ukraine since 2014, when it annexed Crimea and backed pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass.
6 The Batman (film) 2,302,070 The article that would be our #1 if a war wasn't going on. The first big superhero film of 2022 is director Matt Reeves' (of Planet of the Apes fame) reinvention of DC Comics' Batman, featuring Robert Pattinson as the seventh actor to don the cape and cowl. The dark, violent, and insanely long The Batman also stars Aquaman's stepdaughter Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as a Zodiac Killer-inspired Riddler, and a nearly unrecognizable Colin Farrell as the Penguin. The film has received rave reviews (as someone who was lucky enough to attend an early screening, I can confirm the reviews do not lie) and is poised to make a splash at the box office this weekend.
7 Shane Warne 2,024,682 The Australian legbreak known as the “King of Spin” (although Sri Lankans might disagree with that) died this week of a suspected heart attack. One of the best of his kind, Warne set the world record for most Test wickets over a long career marred with controversy over his life off the field.
8 NATO 1,736,704 #2 was vehemently opposed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization expanding further east, and #1 demonstrates why, because if prospective member #3 was in NATO, armed retaliation against Russia would be imminent.
9 Anna Sorokin 1,683,674 The subject of Inventing Anna continues to draw in the views, despite the show having been released nearly a month ago.
10 Thermobaric weapon 1,678,849 This highly destructive type of bomb has allegedly been used by the Russian army in its bombing campaigns.

Blood feeds the war machine, as it eats its way across the land (March 6 to 12)

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 Vladimir Putin 3,815,361 As the invasion enters its third week, #1 gets accused of more war crimes in every passing week, not surprising, as it follows the same tactics as the Russian military intervention in the Syrian civil war.

Meanwhile, Europe (mostly Poland) deals with the biggest migrant crisis since the Second World War, with 3.2 million refugees (as of 14 March, 1.8 million going to Poland alone).

2 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine 3,617,897
3 The Batman (film) 2,348,440 Breaking up the horrors of war is the tension of living in Gotham City. An exceptionally made, even if fairly long, superhero movie that emphasizes why Batman is known as the World's Best Detective (Robert Pattinson's Dark Knight has to go through much investigation against a Zodiac Killer-inspired Riddler), The Batman opened to glowing reviews and has shown that like Spider-Man: No Way Home, superhero movies will make money as if there wasn't a pandemic, with an opening of $134 million in the US alone.
4 Ukraine 1,450,466 Ukrainian cities continue to be destroyed, with the Siege of Mariupol seeing some of the worst fighting and the highest levels of casulties (the highest estimates suggest the siege has 20,000 civilian casulties, more than the rest of the war put together).
5 Russo-Ukrainian War 1,212,786
6 Anna Sorokin 1,197,275 This here writer confesses all this attention on Wikipedia made him start watching Inventing Anna, chronicling another Russian doing unsavory things – though at least Sorokin (played with an unusual accent by the woman on the left, Julia Garner) only caused financial damage as she pretended to be an heiress to infiltrate New York's high society.
7 Volodymyr Zelenskyy 1,189,635 The actor/comedian, turned Ukrainian president, turned war-leader remains defiant, refusing to yield any part of his country without a fight.
8 Elizabeth Holmes 887,288 HBO already made a documentary about Theranos and how their would-be revolution in clinical tests turned out to not work at all. And now Hulu is doing a miniseries where Amanda Seyfried plays the company's CEO whose ambitions were only matched by her willingness to lie her way to the top (and eventual bottom – Holmes managed the feat of being worth $4.5 billion in 2015 and $0 the following year, and earlier this year was found guilty on four counts of defrauding investors).
9 Deaths in 2022 866,600 I'm so insecure, I think
That I'll die before I drink...
10 International Women's Day 744,903 March 8 is the date of this holiday celebrating the achievement of women, and a reminder they still need to fight for their rights.

Blackout weaves its way through the cities (March 13 to 19)

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 The Kashmir Files 2,623,323 One of India's latest big movies, The Kashmir Files portrays the story of a teacher from the Kashmir Valley fleeing the insurgency in Kashmir in 1990. The film has become a box-office hit, and its cinematography was generally praised, as were the performances of the cast. The film has been actively promoted by India's ruling party, the BJP, and has been exempted from taxation in most states it governs. If you know much about the BJP, however, what comes next will not surprise you. The film, which portrays the insurgency as a genocide, has been highly controversial, with critics accusing it of historical revisionism and attempting to stir up Islamophobia, and some calling it Hindu nationalist propaganda.
2 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine 2,571,989 The invasion drags on into its fourth week, having failed to accomplish its goal of a quick victory. With the war stagnating, there's not much to write, other than that it continues to be awful.
3 William Hurt 2,092,026 William Hurt died at the age of 71 of prostate cancer, finishing off an acting career that included an Academy Award for Kiss of the Spider Woman, and at times causing big impact in just one scene (he had an Oscar nomination for the less than 10 minutes he appears in A History of Violence!). The Marvel Cinematic Universe crowd in particular lamented that they won't see Hurt's Thunderbolt Ross become the Red Hulk bar a recast.
4 Vladimir Putin 1,953,038 The president of Russia has now been accused of war crimes by multiple governments.
5 Scott Hall 1,646,861 A professional wrestler and member of the WWF Hall of Fame, Hall, aka Razor Ramon, passed away this week.
6 The Batman (film) 1,266,594 He is vengeance, he is the night, he is at the top of the box office for the third week in a row. Robert Pattinson's Dark Knight has already grossed more than half a billion dollars worldwide.
7 Turning Red 1,055,852 Pixar has complained about having their last three features relegated to Disney+ while Disney still put out Raya and the Last Dragon and Encanto in theaters. The latest one is Turning Red, about a Chinese-Canadian teenager who has to deal with parental demands for perfectionism, getting tickets to see her favorite boy band, and the fact that strong emotions make her become a red panda. Reviews were very positive, and this here writer admits the movie is entertaining even if not close to Pixar's best as Soul or Luca were.
8 Anna Sorokin 959,677 The fraudster and subject of Inventing Anna is still on the list. Having finished the show, this here writer understands why, it's quite a compelling series, and certainly makes one want to visit Wikipedia to confirm if Sorokin, pretending to be rich heiress Anna Delvey, actually did those things that earn in every episode a variation on the disclaimer "This story is completely true. Except for the parts that are totally made up".
9 Vivek Agnihotri 926,017 #1 has also brought its director onto the list.
10 Saint Patrick's Day 909,332

Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was celebrated on Thursday March 17, in Ireland and around the world by the Irish, the Irish diaspora, and friends and well wishers. Actor John C. Reilly was the international guest of honour at the Saint Patrick's Day parade in Dublin city.

This year Saint Patrick's day coincided with the Jewish holiday Purim and the Hindu festival Holi.


Wordle's impact on pageviews

The pageviews graph for the article Caulk, the 15 Febuary Wordle word. The latest bar is the day which the word was featured as an answer in Wordle.

The popular game Wordle which became viral recently appears to have a dramatic impact on the pageviews of the articles about its 5-letter answers. Our investigation into the last 30 Wordle answers (as of 6 Febuary 2022) and the corresponding article pageviews showed that each and every page had a large increase in view count. More coverage is to continue in a later issue. E

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