Possible departure of Cuture Minister Medinsky due to doctoral thesis

Possible departure of Cuture Minister Medinsky due to doctoral thesis
Vladimir Medinsky Photo: Kristina Kormilitsyna / Kommersant

The Minister of Culture may face dismissal on the cusp of the presidential election in March 2018.⁠

Vladimir Medinsky may leave his post due to the scandal concerning his thesis, historian Pavel Aptekar writes in Vedomosti, referring to the opinion of political scientist Nikolai Petrov and an unnamed source close to the Presidential Administration.

According to the source, Medinsky has many opponents in the Kremlin. Experts consider two options of the Culture Minister's dismissal. The ‘soft' scenario implies the departure of Medinsky in March 2018 together with the entire government, the 'hard' one - his early dismissal.

The press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov, however, said that the Kremlin did not consider the scandal associated with Medinsky's thesis the subject in presidential administration's concern, a correspondent of RBC reported. Peskov also remarked that the situation with the thesis of the Minister of Culture was not a reason for reconstructing the system of creating.

Monday, October 2, saw the Expert Council of the Higher Attestation Commission (VAK) recommending depriving Medinsky of Doctor of Historical Sciences degree. 17 members of the commission out of 21 voted for depriving the minister of the scientific degree. Three members casted a negative vote, one abstained from voting.

It was the chairman of the Expert Council of the Higher Attestation Commission - Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Pavel Uvarov, who abstained from voting. He stated that Medinsky had received a degree in compliance with the formal procedure, therefore, such a decision was not subject to cancellation.

The Ministry of Education and Science stressed that the decision of the Higher Attestation Commission on the thesis of Medinsky was intermediate. The final decision will be made by the Presidium of the Higher Attestation Commission, whose meeting is to take place in two or three weeks.

The Minister of Culture himself did not comment on the decision of the expert council. Assistant to Medinsky, scientific director of the Russian Military Historical Society Mikhail Myagkov advised not to pay much attention to the council's conclusion.

Vladimir Medinsky defended his doctoral dissertation in 2011 at the Russian State Social University (RSSU). It was historians Vyacheslav Kozlyakov and Konstantin Yerusalimsky, as well as the expert of Dissernet, Ivan Babitsky, who filed an application on depriving him of his doctoral degree in April 2016. The applicants believe, Medinsky's dissertation on Problems of objectivity in the coverage of Russian history of the second half of the XV-XVII centuries" is unscientific, "peppered with terrible blunders" and "preposterous in some places". Medinsky himself repeatedly chalked up the claims to his work to political motives rather than scientific ones.

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