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Russia’s Bustling Black Market for Ghostwritten Dissertations

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(Jeffrey Coolidge/ Getty Images)

The basest crime a writer can commit is that of plagiarism, or stealing someone else’s words and calling them his own. So when Russian parliamentary leader Sergei Naryshkin was last year caught red-handed—after an analysis of his doctoral dissertation showed countless lifted passages—it shed light on the litany of plagiarists in high-ranking government positions in Russia. The plagiarism police? In this case, an underground organization that calls itself “Dissernet” and exposes fraudsters like Naryshkin (and thousands of others). But even more fascinating is the Russian underworld that feeds the intellectual fraud itself. To read the rest of Leon Neyfakh’s Slate feature, click here.