Sunday, March 10, 2013

Academic Misconduct and Lawmakers

Russian lawmakers join the hall of shame peopled by German   ministers (and several other politicians as well), a Romanian prime minister, and a Hungarian President.

Here's the background to how an anti-corruption political group got interested in outing academic fraud by lawmakers:

... Navalny and his allies have worked to expose instances of graft and embezzlement by Russian officials, as well as their alleged ill-gotten gains and hidden properties abroad. In recent months, however, the investigative spirit led them elsewhere. They were attracted by Russian officials’ amazing academic achievements.

Russia is a highly educated nation, so it may not be a surprise that about half of its lawmakers hold academic degrees. What is amazing, however, is that in many cases their degrees are not indicative of an academic background. Dozens of legislators got their degrees after they had made it to the Duma. How did they find the time for extensive reading and research, as well as writing and defending a dissertation, while deliberating on bills, discussing policy ideas, and meeting with voters?

When Navalny’s allies began looking into this puzzle, they were almost immediately rewarded by unseemly findings.