The Duck of Minerva

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Igor and Vlad: The Horror

March 27, 2006

One of my former graduate students, Igor Danchenko, is in the news for uncovering Vladimir Putin’s plagiarized dissertation. This is from the Chronicle of Higher Education, March 26:

Two scholars at a research institution in Washington have accused Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, of plagiarizing a management textbook by two professors at the University of Pittsburgh in a dissertation for which he received an economics degree, The Washington Times reported on Saturday. According to the scholars, Mr. Putin copied substantial portions, including tables and diagrams, from a 1978 book, Strategic Planning and Policy, by William R. King, now a professor of business administration at Pitt, and David I. Cleland, now an emeritus professor of industrial engineering.

The book, now out of print in English, was available in a Russian translation for Mr. Putin, who cited it in a bibliography but did not make clear that he had lifted whole pages verbatim, according to the two scholars, Clifford G. Gaddy and Igor Danchenko, who work at the Brookings Institution.

The March 25 Washington Times story is available here.

Igor had to be creative to obtain a copy of Putin’s hard-to-find dissertation:

Western researchers have reported continual frustration since Mr. Putin took power in obtaining a copy of the dissertation.Mr. Danchenko said the Brookings researchers learned that a Moscow technical library had a text of the work in its electronic files.

A friend signed up as a subscriber to the library and was able to obtain a copy, he said.

Putin’s thesis was on state management of natural resources and Igor worked on Russia and oil issues while at Louisville.

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Rodger A. Payne is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville. He serves on the University’s Sustainability Council and was a co-founder of the Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice program. He is the author of dozens of journal articles and book chapters and coauthor, with Nayef Samhat, of Democratizing Global Politics: Discourse Norms, International Regimes, and Political Community (SUNY, 2004). He is currently working on two major projects, one exploring the role of narratives in international politics and the other examining the implications of America First foreign policy.