Where the original said “dark chocolate,” he wrote “domestic beef”; where it said “white chocolate,” he wrote “imported beef”; and where it said “chocolate with nuts,” he wrote “meat on the bone.” The graphs, statistics and analysis were otherwise unchanged. Igoshin called the accusation “absurd,” suggesting it was part of a smear campaign against him for his work on a procurement law.
Still, Dissernet members think they are having an effect.
An ardent Kremlin loyalist, Medinsky supported Putin actively in his 2004 presidential campaign as well as in the one this year.
Since 2008, he has also been known as the author of a series of best-selling books about Russian history called Myths About Russia, which are designed to instill national pride among the population and debunk the idea (allegedly propagated by Western historians) that Russia’s past has many negative features.
One senior Moscow official the group accused of plagiarism recently withdrew his thesis and asked to do it again.
In a few cases, the Ministry of Education and Science organized a special investigative panel that voted to revoke the degree in question.The software makes comparisons 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and a band of about 50 volunteers does the rest. Given that Russian organizations that try to play public watchdog are often shut down under the pretext of being foreign agents, Dissernet was established with a purposely low profile. While he cannot prove that it had any connection to his Dissernet work, the group had just published an analysis of a Moscow City Council member’s thesis.It has no staff, no central office and relies largely on crowd funding. There is an official method of challenging doctoral degrees in Russia, so even when the group publishes page-by-page analysis showing all the copied material, it is considered an allegation until the Ministry of Education and Science investigates the matter. Livanov, the education minister, has said that the group lacks the expertise needed to render judgments in so many fields.Thus, for example, Medinsky asserts that Ivan the Terrible was actually a humane leader and suggests that the notion that Russia has a strong history of anti-Semitism is a gross exaggeration.He also denies that Soviet troops invaded and occupied the Baltic states and Poland during World War II or that vast numbers of Soviet prisoners of war were sent to labor camps when the war ended.Other government critics have called the software flawed.Dissernet members described some plagiarists as so lazy they did not bother to change any text; they just substituted the cover page with their name as author.Rostovtsev to write software to automate the process.The Dissernet group knew that an electronic synopsis of every doctoral thesis was posted online in Russia.As for simple word changes, the most infamous case is that of Igor Igoshin, the young member of Parliament who crafted a thesis on the Russian meat industry by changing most of the references in someone’s dissertation about chocolate.(He forgot a few.)Where the original said “chocolate,” he put “beef,” according to Dissernet.