If you read any book about traditional weddings in Russian history, there must be a fight

Date:July 18, 2007 / year-entry #261
Orig Link:https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/20070718-01/?p=25953
Comments:    9
Summary:You can buy a fake vacation for $500 or shell out $300 to $400 for a fake brawl at your wedding. "If you read any book about traditional weddings in Russian history, there must be a fight," said Alexander Yermilov, 22, who recently made a living at it. If you're looking for counterfeits, fakes, and...

You can buy a fake vacation for $500 or shell out $300 to $400 for a fake brawl at your wedding.

"If you read any book about traditional weddings in Russian history, there must be a fight," said Alexander Yermilov, 22, who recently made a living at it.

If you're looking for counterfeits, fakes, and forgeries, Moscow's your place. Assuming you can spot them.

Even Putin's doctoral dissertation, researchers from the Brookings Institution revealed this year, contained major sections lifted from a text published by academics from the University of Pittsburgh.

The revelations barely were repeated in the Moscow press, not because they were scandalous, but because they weren't—government officials routinely rely on fake dissertations patched together by underlings.

Comments (9)
  1. Mahin says:

    I am sure everyone cheated at some point in his or her life. It may be just a little white lie, a little peak at your buddy’s paper when you were six years old, a little ‘help’ in college, or more signifiicant forms of cheating.

    The point is to understand the context. It doesn’t seem to be a big deal in Russia.

    I know the holier-than-thou US government officals and Think Tank mambers never cheated or lied so this might be an alien concept.

  2. Russians are such an easy target this days. We cheat, steal, oppress entire Europe and we do all this while drinking vodka and playing chess for no apparent reason…, and worshiping the dictator who is like second Stalin!

  3. George Jansen says:

    The fake medical school diplomas I do find alarming. But you will remember convictions overturned in the US because of crime-lab technicians with bogus credentials; the fellow who would be football coach at Notre Dame today if he hadn’t padded his resume; best-selling historians who have used passages that might have been better in quotation marks; etc.

    The odd thing about Putin is the dissertation. Was the KGB like the US civil service in that advanced degrees made one eligible for higher pay grades? If he got it since, who cares if you have a Ph.D. when you can confiscate companies and jail political and business opponents?

  4. schwiet says:

    Yet another reason to not to read books.  Thanks Raymond.

  5. CDarklock says:

    Has it occurred to anyone else that it’s a fundamental notion in communist countries that nobody really owns anything? Even with the fall of communism in Russia, surely the cultural standard persists. If you don’t own your house, your car, or even your dog, how exactly can you own the things you wrote in a paper? These things belong to everyone. I’m part of everyone, so it also belongs to me; why should I feel bad about using it?

    The idea that what you write belongs to you and can somehow be stolen is really a very peculiar idea. From a practical standpoint, the doctor is being paid more money because he has a piece of paper. If what really matters to you is what the paper represents, you should be testing what matters and using the paper as a filtering criterion – but all too often, people simply take your word for it no matter what you say, and the piece of paper alone therefore spells a doctor’s salary for several months while the hospital figures out you don’t know what you’re doing. The forger can quite legitimately claim that it is your own fault for not checking what you really wanted to check.

    I suspect this can be applied to software, too. If you call a function and don’t check its return value, it’s your own damn fault if your program crashes when you try to access the invalid pointer it was supposed to fill, right?

  6. Vladimir says:

    <i>If you read any book about traditional weddings in Russian history, there must be a fight</i>

    It’s more like a legend than a real thing. Kind of a running gag about how every wedding is doomed to end with a fight, with everybody being dead drunk – "as drunk as pigs", like we say in Russia. But in reality that’s, of course, not true for most of the weddings.

    <i>government officials routinely rely on fake dissertations patched together by underlings.</i>

    This one is the truth – although I don’t known how much of it applies to Putin’s case. But such things usually happen on a daily basis in low-class institutes. Prestigious universities are mostly clean of cheating. (Well, almost clean. Except for bribes, I guess.)

  7. B says:

    Yes, Russia has a different culture from the `holier-than-thou’ people in DC, but most of what is described in that article is just downright lying. Putin’s dissertation chapter was literally just a translation of an English textbook chapter. Doing a translation—or more likely, hiring somebody else who was a little too lazy and just did a translation—and claiming it as your own is not just a little corner-cutting. If our President committed such a gross mischaracterization of his history or present situations, he would surely be impeached within weeks (grimacing smiley face).

    Although I’ve written a book or so on why patents can be senseless and how copyright needs to be rethought, I am a big fan of trademarks. The purpose of a trademark is simple: prevent confusion in the marketplace. Those fake police sirens endanger real policemen, because when somebody flashes a siren or a badge, the viewer pauses to wonders whether the person is really a policeman. Printing a fake diploma (or plagiarizing your dissertation) casts doubt on the credentials of other folks who have actually done the work and gotten the corresponding education.

    You could take the caveat emptor approach and say that everybody’s credentials should be checked all the time, but wouldn’t life be so much better if you could just take a person’s word for it? Wouldn’t the market be so much more efficient? In fact, how would you develop a market without such a basic level of trust? How would you manage to use the sqrt() function if you had to verify its correctness every time?

    [Disclaimer: I have often had booze with the guy who discovered Putin’s plagiarized dissertation.]

  8. George Jansen says:

    I think that a distinction can be drawn between defending the behavior and saying that is not peculiarly Russian.

    The District of Columbia recently brought out an education plan. A constituent quickly discovered that sections were copied verbatim from a plan done by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools in North Carolina. The deputy mayor in charge of the project is still in office.

    See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/09/AR2007050902575.html

  9. A_Me! says:

    Perhaps it is a blend of Chekov’s Gun and a shotgun wedding?  (If there is a shotgun wedding in act one, it must go off in act two!)

Comments are closed.

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