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A prominent Russian blogger and editor has alleged that an article published by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin this week on ethnic issues largely was plagiarized from a sociological monograph. But the author of the allegedly plagiarized work said he doubted this was the case.

Putin's article, titled "Russia: The National Question," was published in the influential daily "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on January 23 and was the second in a series of publications by Putin in the run-up to the March 4 presidential election.

In the article, Putin assailed nationalists for sowing discord but also appealed to nationalist sentiments by calling for migrants to register with the authorities.

Bloggers, however, allege that approximately one-third of the publication was lifted from a monograph by sociologist Valery Tishkov and two other researchers.

Aleksandr Morozov, editor of “Russky Zhurnal” (Russian Journal), posted the allegations on his blog, generating more than 100 comments and sparking follow-up stories on widely trafficked online news sites like Lenta.ru and Polit.ru. He spoke to RFE/RL’s Russian Service:

“When I read Putin’s strange article on the national question, I noticed that special terminology was being used that is only used by professional cultural anthropologists -- words like ‘socio-cultural code,' ‘poly-cultural,' and ‘poly-culturalism.' There is a standard set of [commonly used] political words such as ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘civil nation.' But [the language of Putin's article included] some pretty specialized expressions -- even though speechwriters usually watch closely to stop scientific jargon from making its way into political statements by politicians of Putin’s level.”

Morozov said he traced terminology in Putin's article first to concepts of multiculturalism used in Great Britain in the 1970s, then to the Russian Ministry of Education, and finally to a monograph by Aleksandr Danilyuk, Aleksandr Kondakov, and Tishkov titled: “Conceptions of Spiritual-Moral Development and the Formation of Russian Citizens’ Personalities.”

But in comments to RFE/RL, Tishkov, who is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said he was unconvinced that his work had been plagiarized:

“As for [Putin's use of] 'poly-culturalism,' he also got this a little confused. Everything there is a little vague. The article is sort of eclectic; [it is written in a] purely pre-election style...so that it appeals to everyone who is voting. As for those who aren’t voting, what does he say about them? Migrants... and so on -- 'Are they responsible for everything?' I didn't write that kind of book. It is different from this article.”

The article was Putin's second publication in a major Russian daily ahead of the vote. An earlier article, published in "Izvestiya" earlier this month, appealed to the middle class and laid out his reasons for seeking to return to the Kremlin.

In addition to calling for migrants to register with the authorities in the "Nezavisimaya gazeta" article, Putin also proposed that they pass exams in Russian language, literature, and history. Additionally, he called for the formation of a list of 100 books to serve as essential, identity-building reading for the next generation of young Russians.

-- Anastasia Kirilenko, with Tom Balmforth

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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