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Putin Faces Plagiarism Accusation

Published: March 28, 2006 (Issue # 1156)


MOSCOW Large parts of an economics thesis written by President Vladimir Putin in the mid-1990s were lifted straight out of a U.S. management textbook published 20 years earlier, The Washington Times reported Saturday, citing researchers at the Brookings Institution.

It was unclear, however, whether Putin had even read the thesis, which might have been intended to impress the Western investors who were flooding into St. Petersburg in the mid-1990s, the report said. Putin oversaw the citys foreign economic relations at the time.

Clifford Gaddy, a senior fellow at Brookings, said 16 of the 20 pages that open the thesis key second section were taken from the Russian translation of the 1978 book Strategic Planning and Policy by University of Pittsburgh professors William King and David Cleland, the newspaper reported.

In addition, six diagrams and tables from the 218-page thesis also mimicked those in the book, which had been translated into Russian by a KGB-related institute in the early 1990s. It all boils down to plagiarism, The Washington Times reported Gaddy as saying. Whether youre talking about a college-level term paper, not to mention a formal dissertation, theres no question in my mind that this would be plagiarism.

Calls to the presidential administration went unanswered Sunday.

The official Kremlin biography says Putin obtained a Ph.D. in economics in 1997 from the St. Petersburg Mining Institute. It is unclear when Putin wrote the thesis, which Putin scholars have tried for years to examine and Brookings obtained by subscribing to a Moscow technical library that had a copy in its electronic files.

Putin cited the King-Cleland work among his 47 sources, but he did not indicate paragraphs and pages were being copied. The thesis, titled The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations, is largely an essay on how a state should manage its natural resources.

Somebody was cutting corners, whether it was Mr. Putin or whoever cut and pasted the work for him, said Gaddy, who worked with fellow Brookings researcher Igor Danchenko.

Dubious academic credential-building was common in Eastern Europe and especially in East Germany, where Putin once served as a KGB agent, E. Wayne Merry, senior associate at the American Foreign Policy Council, told The Washington Times.

It was really quite common for an up-and-coming apparatchik to get a ghostwritten work done to obtain a degree, he said. Its probably an open question whether Putin even read his dissertation until shortly before he had to defend it.

Vladimir Litvinenko, the rector at the St. Petersburg Mining Institute when Putin obtained his degree, is now a key adviser to Putin on energy policy.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Oct. 20


Amateur pictures from World War I are on display for only one more day at Rosphotos exhibition On Both Sides, chronicling the conflict through the eyes of observers on both sides of the trenches. The price of entrance to the exhibition is 100 rubles ($2.50).



Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organizations office.


Take the chance to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Centers series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this months lessons being visual arts.



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