Dissernet Сorruption

How Dissernet figures advise the Federation Council

University Transparency Laboratory (Lupa), with the help of the free online community Dissernet, analyzed the activities of expert councils of the upper house of the Russian parliament. It turned out that 10% of experts advising senators on the laws they pass have violations of academic ethics – from opposing “plagiarists” to substituting data in their own works and cheating. Lupa, together with T-invariant, tells you who these violators are and why such experts influence our lives more than it seems.

What do expert councils do

Back in April 2023, Vladimir Putin gave instructions to optimize expert councils under federal executive authorities and state corporations. In order to form a unified examination system, they planned to attract representatives of public and private companies. However, despite the fact that almost a year has passed, no “optimization” has happened in the expert councils.

According to the provisions on expert councils, which each council has their they should assist senators in their work and advise on emerging issues , thus taking part in lawmaking. “These are the same bodies as those under the State Duma, ministries and other departments,” says Vladlena Pushkareva, an analyst at the Duma Bingo project, which studies the activities of the Russian chambers of parliament. — [The expert councils] bring together representatives of the Federation Council and experts from thematic sectors. They discuss a variety of issues, sometimes discussing specific bills and asking for the opinions of these experts. At these meetings, their participants can theoretically lobby for some amendment or clause in the draft law.”

“Not all departments publish the list of experts and minutes of meetings,” continues Pushkareva. — At the same time, it often includes representatives of large companies, for example, Gazprom, Rostec, Novatek and others. Since the system is opaque and we do not know how and on what basis people are recruited there, we can say that it iscorruption-intensive area. It needs to be made more transparent.”

It is difficult to say how influential such advice is, Pushkareva clarifies. “But if big companies send their representatives there, it means they play some role [in decision making],” she says.

And even among the Federation Council experts there are people with violations of scientific ethics. The University Transparency Laboratory estimated that at least 10% of members of the expert councils of the upper house of Parliament have some kind of violations found by Dissernet: they defended plagiarized dissertations or helped defend others, opposed such defenses, or made “shameful decisions” by refusing to deprive degrees for borrowing.

Plagiarist senators and consultants without a degree: who is on the Soviets under Matvienko

The expert advisory bodies in the Federation Council are divided into several groups. The first is expert councils under the Chairman of the Federation Council, under the committees of the Federation Council and other councils. Valentina Matvienko, as Chairman of the Federation Council, interacts with three councils: scientific expert council, council on intellectual property issues, and council on interaction with civil society institutions. Matvienko, as a person occupying one of the highest positions in the state, is also the chairwoman of each of these councils. They are called upon to assist in the exercise of its powers.

In each of them there are people who are involved in Dissernet. They become those who violated the norms of scientific ethics or wrote a work that has signs of scientific failure. A violation of scientific ethics can be, for example, consulting assistance or support for work that has been copied from someone else’s work, and much more.

All Of the 25 people who are members of the scientific expert council under the chairman, four have various shortcomings in their dissertations and articles. The other two councils also have individuals who do not comply with scientific ethics. Of the 39 members of the Intellectual Property Council, Dissernet found violations among three. And in the council for interaction with civil society institutions, out of 35 members, there are five.

One of the members of the scientific expert council, which is headed by Valentina Matvienko, Sergey Ryazantsev – defendant “Dissernet”, having a total of 15 violations. He is also a member of the Presidium of another council – on social development under the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy. Six people whose scientific supervisor he acted were found to have serious violations in their dissertations, and in two cases they even tried to deprive them of their academic degrees for plagiarism, but they did not deprive them. This does not prevent him from heading the Institute of Demographic Research of the Federal Research Sociological Center (FNISC) of the Russian Academy of Sciences and heading the Department of Demographic and Migration Policy at MGIMO.

Dissernet also found violations among other members of the same council: Rector of RUDN University Oleg Yastrebov and Deputy President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Talia Khabrieva. In the doctoral dissertation of the rector of RUDN Yastrebov, for example, “Dissernet” found a substitution, namely, a replacement of years of research when describing statistical data and references to works that are not in the list of references. Talia Khabrieva was scientific supervisor of the doctoral dissertation of the head of the SVR Sergei Naryshkin, in which discovered large-scale borrowing.

In the Council for Intellectual Property, violations were found by Doctor of Economic Sciences and RAS expert Elena Bogdanova, who was the scientific supervisor of five violators and three times opposed candidates for the degree, two of whom ended up were deprived of it for violations. Also included in Dissernet were the head of the Republic of Mordovia, Artem Zdunov, for a written-off dissertation, and a member of United Russia, rector of the Institute of Economics and Management in Industry, Alexey Ryabinin, who helped write three dissertations, in which partial plagiarism was eventually found.

The last council under the Chairman of the Federation Council, where five members have violations, is the Council for Interaction with Civil Society Institutions. Here Dissernet found a copied dissertation from a representative from the Orenburg region, Elena Afanasyeva, who, as a State Duma deputy, became one of the initiators of the law banning the adoption of Russian orphans by American citizens. Violations in the dissertation were also found among the senator from Udmurtia Lyubov Glebova, and copied dissertations were found among the senators from the Amur Region and the Republic of Khakassia Artem Sheikin and Valentina Petrenko.

The biggest “offenders”

Half of the Federation Council committees have expert advice. No violations have yet been found only in small expert councils under the Committee on International Affairs and on Tax Policy and Financial Market under the Budget Committee. But even if no violations are found, this does not mean that they do not exist, notes one of the founders of Dissernet, Andrei Zayakin.

“If we saw that, say, the Faculty of Economics of the Russian State University for the Humanities has already produced about hundred false dissertations, we did not study a hundred other universities in Moscow, but studied only the Russian State University for the Humanities, one specific department and found hundreds more [violations] there. Hence there is some selective effect,” explains Zayakin. “Therefore, individual scientific schools, universities, and specialists are more widely represented and [studied] more deeply than others.”

Dissernet found the largest number of violations in the expert council of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building. It consists of quite a lot of people – and out of 197 council members, 37 have various violations: from participating in “shameful decisions” of dissertation councils to depriving a council member of a scientific degree due to plagiarism.

Lawyers have become the biggest offendersamong all participants of expert councils, even though Dissernet usually paid less attention to them when studying dissertations. “We had a sporting interest – to file applications for deprivation of our academic degrees [for violations]. The most interesting thing was to submit [applications] for economists, and not, for example, foresters,” explains Zayakin. “That’s why economists were studied much more than others. In addition, there are qualitative differences between the way economists and lawyers, for example, steal.

Economists usually steal in whole chunks and sometimes falsify data, which is proof that no research was conducted: for example, they change [in the study] Kaliningrad to Vladivostok. This is very convenient [to prove], and it usually impresses even chronic swindlers and villains.

With lawyers, everything is different. Quite often they take, perhaps, someone else’s text in its entirety, but heavily cut and modify it. Therefore, lawyers were not in first place.”

Doctor of Legal Sciences Elena Lukyanova believes that such a number of violators are among lawyers because “it is prestigious to be a legislator with an academic degree.” “[It] sounds proud. Deputies and senators are paid extra for academic degrees,” she continues. — There are many dissertation workshops among departmental law universities, and the dissertation council of the Higher Attestation Commission is full of left-wing scientists of a corrupt nature. Real scientists don’t want to go there. [Andrei] Zayakin and I tried to improve legal dissents. It didn’t work out. Including because of the unique reputation of the Higher Attestation Commission.”

Especially among others stands out the rector of the Moscow State Technical University of Civil Aviation (MSTU GA) Boris Eliseev, deprived of the academic degree of Doctor of Technical Sciences, but retaining the position of rector university He is also still a member of the Board of the Federal Air Transport Agency, and in 2022, not without pridetoldthat he was the first to create a university program for training drone operators. span>

Another “violator” is Evgeny Vavilin, head of the Department of Civil Law at the Moscow State Law University named after O. E. Kutafin. According to data “Dissernet”, he replaced data in his scientific works.

Several members of the council were found to have plagiarism in their own dissertations, including Igor, professor of the Notary Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences Moskalenko and professor Department of Criminalistics, Faculty of Law, Moscow State University Lev Bertovskiy, head of the RUDN University Lyudmila Bukalerova Dmitry, Director of Internal Audit at NPK Uralvagonzavod Melnova, notary Ia Gorbunkova and Vice-President of the FPA, head of the Chamber of Lawyers of the Moscow Region Alexey Galoganov.

Various violations: from partial plagiarism in dissertations to opposition to those who copied their work – also found in lawyer and author of books Lyudmila Grudcyna, judge of the Second Court of Cassation Denis Gorshunova and Secretary of the Plenum of the Supreme Court Victor Momotova, professor at the Vladimir All-Russian State University of Justice Gureev, First Deputy Director of the IGP RAS Nikolai Mikhailova and 24 more people.

Members of other expert councils also have violations, albeit fewer: the Committee on Social Policy and the Committee on Agricultural and Food Policy and Environmental Management. The latter has a total of more than 250 people, among them at least 11 people have violations.

“Violators” in other councils

In addition to expert councils, the Federation Council also has councils for the development of certain areas, for example, the Council on gasification of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, on local self-government or on the development of the Far East, the Arctic and Antarctic.

At the end of 2023, legislators created the sixteenth council for military-patriotic education of citizens. What exactly it will do and who will be part of it is not yet known. As a rule, in such councils, in addition to experts, there are public officials: ministers, governors, senators of the Federation Council.

This council is a body that provides lobbying opportunities for a range of private and quasi-public companies. It consists of a significant number of representatives of the legislative and executive powers supervising the Far East and the Arctic, which opens up wide opportunities for lobbying private interests on this platform

This is how Ilya Shumanov, director of the project “Arctida”.

The researcher explains that in addition to civil servants, this Council also includes representatives of large businesses associated with Arctic projects: for example, the Novatek company, which is controlled by Leonid Mikhelson together with Vladimir Putin’s friend Gennady Timchenko. Shumanov also draws attention to the fact that at the level of organizational architecture it is indicated that the Chairman of the Council may be one of the first deputies of the relevant committee of the Federation Council:

It seems that this position was created for Senator Karelova, whose son, Evgeny Karelov, according to the latest information, worked at the PPK Russian Ecological Operator. PPK REO is also represented in this Council through the Association for the Promotion of the Circular Economy “Resource”, which is almost the only environmental organization in this expert group. This is a fairly common situation of conflict of interest, which, of course, will go unnoticed by senators, since it is beneficial to REO and the family of Senator Karelova.

In general, there are fewer violations of scientific ethics in these councils than in expert councils, since they consist of fewer people. Dissernet found the largest number of violators from the total number of council members in the Council on Agro-Industrial Complex and Environmental Management, which is headed by Andrei Yatskin, a senator from the Rostov region and a candidate of legal sciences. Of the 38 people, violations of scientific ethics were found in five. For example, Senator from the Republic of Ingushetia Belan Khamchiev, who is a member of this council. in 2016 they tried to deprive him of his doctorate in economics. “Dissernet” discovered in his dissertation there were large-scale borrowings without indicating the source and substitution of data, and Khamchiev defended himself at the Russian State Correspondence Agrarian University, like several other candidates with the same scientific consultant – Elena Semenova. Despite this, the senator retained his degree.

Among the violators in this council were two more senators: from the Kamchatka Territory and the Tambov Region. The senator from Kamchatka, Boris Nevzorov, “Dissernet” found large-scale borrowing from Senator Alexander Nikitina from Tambov – also borrowings, but in a translated article , as well as opposition and scientific guidance in works with plagiarism.

Two other “violators” work in universities: Andrey Paptsov, who was an opponent and scientific supervisor of people deprived of a degree, and also participated in making “shameful decisions”, is a member of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences and heads the Federal Scientific Center for Agrarian Economics and Social Development of Rural Territories at the All-Russian Research Institute of Agricultural Economics. The latest “violator” is professor, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and head of the department of economic activity analysis and forecasting at Rostov State University Lyudmila Usenko, who, according to Dissernet, wasthe scientific supervisor of the work where plagiarism was found.

Text: Tatyana Kolobakina, Sasha Angel, Tamila Norkulova

, ,   4.04.2024

, , ,