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:
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:
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