Vladimir Putin‘s supposed to be an economist. Kind of embarassing. But it turns out that he plagiarized his dissertation, so we can justly banish him from the club:

According to the Kremlin’s official biography, Putin, 53, obtained a PhD in economics from the St Petersburg Mining Institute in 1997. But the US researchers also established that his thesis was for a lesser degree that would not have entitled him to a full doctorate.

The embarrassing revelation that Putin, a former KGB agent, may have cheated and lied about his qualifications follows a long search by US scholars for evidence of the president’s academic prowess. A copy of the thesis was eventually located in the electronic files of a Moscow technical library.

According to Clifford G Gaddy, a senior fellow at Brookings, 16 of the 20 pages that open a key section of Putin’s work were copied either word for word or with minute alterations from a management study, Strategic Planning and Policy, written by US professors William King and David Cleland. The study was translated into Russian by a KGB-related institute in the early 1990s.

Of course, by the historical standards of the Soviet secret police, Putin’s offense isn’t worth mentioning. From mass murder to plagiarism – I’d say the glass is half full.

Thanks to Ilia Rainer for the pointer.