MOSCOW, April 4 – RAPSI. The Kremlin’s child rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov dismissed on Thursday accusations of plagiarism over his PhD dissertation which have recently gone viral on the Russian blogosphere.
Astakhov has been frequently quoted in the media recently in connection with his allegations that US families have abused children adopted from Russia.
On February 18 Astakhov announced the death of a Russian adoptee in US, Maxim Kuzmin. The three-year-old was adopted by a Texan couple last fall. Astakhov tweeted that the child had been given strong "psychotropic substances" and was badly beaten before he died in a hospital on January 21. Later, US officials after a thorough investigation declared that the death was accidental. Astakhov was strongly criticized by the media and the public for sensationalizing the incident.
Prominent Russian journalist Sergei Parkhomenko posted a blog on Wednesday claiming 80 percent of Astakhov’s PhD paper about judicial conflicts was taken from a number of previously published works.
“Such absolutely unprofessional pseudo-investigation evokes nothing but pity,” Astakhov, a high-profile lawyer known for his pro-Kremlin stance, told Vesti FM radio station on Thursday.
Astakhov added that his PhD dissertation was based on his own Masters paper, which, he said, was later quoted in some US studies.
A graduate of the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB, the Soviet spy agency, Astakhov received a Master of Laws degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a PhD in Russia in 2006.