Plagiarism allegations haunt Russian lawmaker

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow: In the latest plagiarism scandal, yet another State Duma deputy, Rishat Abubakirov, is facing allegations of copying chunks of his dissertation from another source.

Support TwoCircles

The Dozhd TV channel quoted bloggers as claiming that Abubakirov plagiarised about 45 percent of his 2009 economics doctorate dissertation from the work of Stanislav Sirota.

Both men had defended their theses at Kazan State University, but Sirota defended his dissertation three years before Abubakirov.

The ruling United Russia party member’s work is said to mirror not only the content, but also the punctuation marks and even the mistakes in Sirota’s text.

Bloggers have urged the Higher Certification Committee — known as VAK — to strip Abubakirov of his doctorate degree, and also blamed the VAK for its poor performance in allowing such things to happen.

There has been no comment from Abubakirov, whose aides, according to Dozhd, said he is “too busy”.

This latest controversy comes on the heels of plagiarism allegations made against other Duma members Vladimir Burmatov, Nikolai Bulayev and Tatyana Alekseyeva, and even Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, all of them also United Russia members.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has called for a robust effort to fight plagiarism, saying the number of fake dissertations was “over the top”.

He stressed that plagiarism should be “nipped in the bud”, starting with first-year college students, and that entirely new “quality standards” for research should be set.

In November, a group of alumni from a specialised research centre at Moscow State University alleged that the centre’s director, Andrei Andriyanov, had plagiarised parts of his dissertation.

A special commission was subsequently formed by the science and education ministry that established that 25 dissertations defended at the Moscow State Pedagogical University had been plagiarised.