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.
Clifford Gaddy and Igor Danchenko examined Vladimir Putin’s dissertation on strategic planning in the resource sector, allegations of plagiarism, and how it shaped Putin’s attitudes toward economy strategy.
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The center is thinning out and the left and right are filling the void...Voters are looking for clear ideas [and don’t want to hear from] bureaucrats who have been spouting the same talking points for decades...Even if the fringe’s solutions are unpalatable, they are at least offering a future vision whereas the center has little else to offer...[But] it’s not a new phenomenon...It may seem like this is a sudden, surprising burst of momentum...but these crises have just given more fodder to parties that are able to mobilize support in a way the center is not.