Russian minister keeps doctorate despite plagiarism claims
Russia's conservative culture minister will be allowed to keep his doctorate in medieval history, the country's top academic body ruled Friday, despite widespread accusations of plagiarism and inaccuracy.
Vladimir Medinsky, who has published a best-selling trilogy of Russian history in which he presents a glossy nationalist version of the country’s past, is also the chairman of the state-backed Russian Military History Society.
A committee of a government agency that oversees the awarding of higher academic degrees ruled in the minister’s favour by 16 to 6, according to a source who was present and quoted in Russian media.
Academics have long denounced Medinsky’s dissertation, entitled “Problems in objectivity in the coverage of Russian history from the mid 15th century to the 17th century”.
In April 2016, three academics made formal requests to the council to strip Medinsky of his PhD for “using unscientific methods.” One historian called Medinsky’s dissertation “simply absurd.”
The ruling was closed to the press.
Medinsky personally attended the meeting having refused to go to earlier hearings.
Earlier this month, an expert council of the same government agency voted in favour of stripping the minister of his Urals Federal University PhD.
Following Friday’s ruling, independent Russian historians and activists accused the council of covering for the culture minister.
Medinsky has called the accusations politically motivated.
Education Minister Olga Vasilyeva said: “I am very pleased this has all come to an end”.