According to official sources, Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a degree of candidate of economic science (incorrectly described on the English-language version of his website as a “Ph.D in economics”), awarded by the St. Petersburg Mining Institute in 1996. Putin never actually attended the institute, however, and the topic of the dissertation he submitted and defended was one in which he had no previous background. With the aim of exploring the mystery, Brookings researchers Clifford Gaddy and Igor Danchenko in 2005 obtained a copy of the previously inaccessible dissertation and examined its contents.
On March 30, 2006, the Brookings Center on the United States and Europe hosted an event in which Gaddy and Danchenko revealed the findings of their research. They clarified some of the unknowns about the document and discussed its relevance to Putin’s views on governance and the economy. They also presented evidence of extensive plagiarism in the dissertation.