Wikipedians are the people that contribute information to Wikipedia, and the vast majority, like Ihor Kostenko, are volunteers – they are not paid by anyone for the time they donate to Wikipedia to write articles, edit information and discuss the quality of articles with other Wikipedians. In The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, myself and Susan Ellis say that Wikipedia is the largest example of virtual volunteering. When anyone from any country asks me what organization involves the most online volunteers in their country, I say with confidence, “Your country’s version of Wikipedia.”
Ihor Kostenko was a Ukrainian journalist and Euromaidan activist. In two and a half years, he wrote more than 280 articles and made more than 1,600 edits on Ukrainian Wikipedia, contributing under the user name Ig2000. He also created maintained the popular Ukrainian Wikipedians Facebook page. He created the idea of a Wiki Flashmob in Ukraine, a group volunteer event that invited Ukrainians to participate in a day of article-writing on Wikipedia; the event was undertaken on on April 27, 2014 after his death and was dedicated to his memory. He was shot and killed on February 20, 2014 during a Euromaidan protest in Kyiv.
I’m not sure why there is such scant information on the Wikipedia main site about the Wikipedian of the Year award; I’m not sure when or where it was given. This page provides some information about the 2014 award, but I can’t find an official Wikipedia press release about it anywhere – nor any press coverage of the announcement anywhere, other than the aforementioned link.
Update August 19: The Kiev Post has posted an article about this that provides more information. Apparently, the announcement was made at this year’s closing ceremony of Wikimania, an annual conference of the Wikimedia Foundation. But there’s nothing at all on the Wikimania web site about Ihor Kostenko, and I can find no official announcement from Wikipedia about this. Frustrating!