How to earn a fake Ph.D. in Russia

Meat, chocolate... what's the difference?

Aleksey Navalny fights political corruption in Russia. His allies recently looked at the amazing academic accomplishments of Russian politicians, and discovered a much simpler way to write a Ph.D. dissertation:
One of the most recent reports, posted this week, has to do with a United Russia member Igor Igoshin, who entered the Duma in 1999 and has been reĆ«lected several times since. In 2004 Igoshin was awarded the Russian equivalent of a Ph.D. (kandidat nauk) in economics. His dissertation was titled “Increasing the competitiveness of enterprises by realizing their market potential (a case study of food industry).”

Using specially designed software, the dissertation muckrakers spotted a source for Igoshin’s academic work. It was a dissertation defended two years earlier by a certain Natalia Orlova (who is not a lawmaker). Hers is titled “The competitive strength of confectionery enterprises based on market potential.” Igoshin’s hundred-and-eighty-seven-page dissertation overlaps by about eighty per cent with that of Natalia Orlova—with one major difference.

While Orlova’s original dissertation is about chocolate, Igoshin’s is about meat. Throughout the text “chocolate” was replaced by “meat,” “confectionery” became “meat-processing,” “white chocolate” was converted into “Russian beef,” “regular milk chocolate” became “imported beef,” and “dark chocolate” turned into “beef on bone of any origin.” In addition to copy-paste, the work of dissertation writing seemed to involve applying another basic word-processing function: batch replacement. As the investigation revealed, statistics, graphs and diagrams cited by Orlova in her research of sweets and chocolate were left unchanged in Igoshin’s “study” of beef and pork.
Read More: Russia’s Dissertation-Fraud Muckrakers, The New Yorker>>

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