I don't want to make too light of this story, but how does this make Putin any different than the majority of Russian university students? Not to cast a dispersion upon Russian universities, as many of them offer excellent educations - but almost every Russian student I have known has sought to cut corners or work a deal with a friend to get some paper done. It is almost like a given thing among many students. It can't be that way with ALL of these students, but certainly many. I've even had a difficult time explaining WHY it is considered so forbidden here, and can lead to expulsion of students.
Even with it being forbidden in US universities, it still happens. So just imagine when the environment doesn't foster a belief that it is incredibly wrong to plagiarize.
The embarrassing revelation that Putin, a former KGB agent, may have cheated and lied about his qualifications follows a long search by US scholars for evidence of the president’s academic prowess. A copy of the thesis was eventually located in the electronic files of a Moscow technical library.It is ironic that this same paper was recently cited as being almost a holy grail among Putin-philes (Putinophiles?) who wanted to read the man's original words. Even the titles of the papers are nearly identical - and the fact that it was translated into Russian in the early 90's certainly doesn't help the case against possible plagiarism.
According to Clifford G Gaddy, a senior fellow at Brookings, 16 of the 20 pages that open a key section of Putin’s work were copied either word for word or with minute alterations from a management study, Strategic Planning and Policy, written by US professors William King and David Cleland. The study was translated into Russian by a KGB-related institute in the early 1990s.
The Washington Times reported yesterday that six diagrams and tables from the 218-page thesis also appeared to “mimic” similar charts in the US work. The newspaper quoted Gaddy as saying: “There’s no question in my mind that this would be plagiarism.”
Putin’s work was entitled “The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations” and was largely an essay on how a state should manage its natural resources. Experts on the former Soviet Union said last week it was common for ambitious “apparatchiks” to seek to inflate their credentials with an impressive-sounding degree, and that there were many cases at the time of officials hiring ghost-writers to produce work they passed off as their own.
I am expecting this to be completely dismissed in Russian newspapers tomorrow. Probably Russians who read this blog will get angry at me even writing this short blurb about the news article. But it was sitting there staring me in the face from multiple news sources after the Brooking Institute released their findings.
As it is, I don't consider it to be a hugely important finding, but it doesn't do much to improve Putin's stature in the minds of many in the West - particularly when enforcement of intellectual property laws in Russia are a large concern for western businesses.