U.S.A. researchers report plagiarism in Putin's dissertation

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Researchers at the Brookings Institution, a non-profit think tank located in Washington D.C., have recently accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of making improper use of almost 16 pages and six figures from a 1982 translation of a 1978 textbook in his economics dissertation. Strategic Planning and Policy, written by University of Pittsburgh professors William R. King and David I. Cleland, was published in 1979.

Brookings Institution researchers Clifford Gaddy and Igor Danchenko claim that Putin's dissertation, which earned him a candidate's degree in economics from the St. Petersburg Mining Institute, copies almost verbatim from the text.

Gaddy states, "I'm convinced that Putin did read that textbook. This is exactly the style of governing the country that he has used in Russia. He's actually taking their ideas and treating Russia as if it's a corporation -- 'Russia Incorporated.'"

Many Russian government officials at the time would pay a ghostwriter for such publications, as gaining a degree could add legitimacy to one's governing policy. In that sense, it is possible Putin bought or paid for the dissertation and did not read over - in essence, passing plagiarised work off as his own, but not himself committing plagiarism. Gaddy states: "It's very clear he never wrote the thing in the first case, this is a clear diploma-mill-type operation. This is a dissertation, paid for, made-to-order."

Although Gaddy and Danchenko set out searching for Putin's views on economics and sustainable development, they noticed in reading his dissertation that certain sections seemed out of place. The only English language source in the text was King and Cleland's book. In the translation from Russia to English of the dissertation, text was discovered that came from that book without credit.

King and Cleland have no plans to sue.


Vladimir Putin's Dissertation reference at the Russian State Library: