Gets Caught Plagiarizing: FECRIS Member and Member of Russian Ministry of Justice Expert Council on Religious Studies


Is FECRIS faking it again? Russian FECRIS Member Kuzmin Gets Caught Plagiarizing

By Vladimir Morozov


MOSCOW, March 23, 2014 – An “academic” work recently examined for plagiarism was a Master dissertation by Mr Alexander Kuzmin, a FECRIS member and member of Russian Ministry of Justice Expert Council for Conducting State Religious Expertise since 2009. (FECRIS (European Federation of Centers for Re- search and Information) is the European Anti-Cult Umbrella Organisation that calls itself “NGO” but gets sponsered to 93% by the French Government. More information: Case Study on FECRIS, FOREF-Reply to FECRIS-Statement, annual FECRIS-conference.)

Alexander Kuzmin

(Alexander Kuzmin, Source of picture)

On 30 October 2009, at a sitting of Belgorod State University Council on Defence of Master and Doctorate Dissertations in Philosophy (city of Belgorod, Russia), Kuzmin defended his dissertation for the conferment of the degree of Master in Philosophy, the topic being “The Phenomenon of Destructiveness of New Religious Movements”.

Network community “Dissernet” exposes appropriations in the dissertation by publishing its analysis on their web-site. It follows from the analysis that the dissertation of Mr Kuzmin was gathered from non-scientific works mostly. While studying the dissertation more carefully not only plagiarism comes up but also big amount of blunders.

Experts of the Center for Conducting Forensic Examinations and Research observe in their conclusion of 21 October 2013:

“The improper appropriation contained in the text of the dissertation in question amounts to 42%. The significant amount of appropriation detected therein constituting 42% of the text as well as its nature renders it impossible to consider the dissertation being examined to be original (written independently, according to Article 8 of Statute on Academic Degree Conferment Procedure)… The total amount of appropriation contained in the dissertation in question, including the improper appropriation, is 46%.”

In fact, the improper appropriation amounts to a much higher percentage. When drawing up their conclusion, the experts did not consider the Bibliography section, an integral part of a dissertation. The section lists 306 titles of “sources”, which makes up 17.5% of the total length. However, only 7 out of the 306 titles are actually quoted in the dissertation. There is obvious noncompliance with the requirements for a scientific work (see the requirements below). The text of the dissertation also contains a large number of repetitions.

In consideration of stated above the real percentage of improper appropriations (plagiarism) is 52%, and overall percentage of appropriations (including improper ones) is 58%.

Such large-scale plagiarism is quite a serious thing. Deputy Head of History Department at Moscow Pedagogical University got dismissed for something similar. However, Kuzmin’s breaches goes beyond that. The ignorance of the subject matter, the disrespect for science and scientists, the overall unconscientiousness in writing the dissertation, all engendered a multitude of absurdities while copying. The following is a brief overview of some.

At present, Alexander Kuzmin is a deacon, teaches at Saratov Orthodox Theological Seminary. Note the subjects he teaches as stated at the seminary’s web-site:

Alexander Kuzmin Academic Details

And now let’s have a look at just some fragments of his dissertation. Here you have “Logic” from Kuzmin:

“Perverting the Christian connotation of Christ’s death on the cross, the Mormons, while still pretending to be Christians, claim their particular faith to be true, thereby threatening those who disagree with this claim of theirs with possible reprisals, appealing to what they call ‘the true Christian teaching.’ Forming the perceived image of ‘fellow ones’ <…>”

Kuzmin couldn’t but have been “frightened” on finding out that the Mormons “claim their faith to be true.”  You dare disagree? Then, expect a Mormon with reprisals!

Another sample of “Logic”. Kuzmin writes, “In 1980, Washington University professors Richard Stark and William Baynebridge point out four factors forming <…>” carrying on in the following paragraph:

To further develop this view on the problem, in 1972 Colin Campbell suggested a theory to explain such a booming growth of the number of new religions by the existence of a ‘cult environment’, <…>”

Colin Campbell was so fortunate as to possess a time machine?

Now let’s compare Kuzmin’s definition of “sect” with the one given 19 pages down the painstaking “scientific” research, of “destructive sect” (repetitions highlighted):

Kuzmins Sect Definition

What a genius! Call it “destructive”, and so it will be; don’t call it so, and so it is not. A gemstone of science! — which has finally been enriched with this long-awaited definition.

And here comes the “Rhetoric”: “Most sects have few or no professional clergymen and stress the equality of their members. Only by birth, most join sects in an advanced age in an effort to strengthen their faith.”

Just try to join a sect only by birth in an advanced age. Well, how did you do? And here’s the source taken from:

“Most sects have few or no professional clergymen and stress the equality of all their members. Only a relatively small number of followers of a sect belong to it by birth; most join sects in an advanced age in an effort to strengthen their faith.” (Giddens, A. Sociology. Moscow, Editorial URSS, 1999, p. 434)

A little more “Rhetoric”: “<…> aspects of the community under research. They began discussing it while demonstrating the difficulties of research into certain modern sects, whose analysis may be subjected to risk for the researcher himself and affect the representativeness of the conclusions of his research. In considering this aspect, Roy Wallis’s findings will be of interest <…>.”

Mr Analysis, we address you. Caution: You may be subjected to risk for the researcher himself! 

And here’s some “History of Russian Religious Philosophy” from Kuzmin: “<…> have nothing to do with Buddhism. Starting from the late 1980s, the sect of Aum Shinrikyo began disseminating its teaching across Russia and other CIS states, focusing on the localities historically held as home to traditional Buddhism: Kalmykia, Bouryatia, and Mongolia.”

Could you advise us on whether Mongolia is in Russia or CIS? [Note: Mongolia is separate country, not member of CIS.]

“Another advocate of this approach, Kurt Lewin (1968), explained the phenomenon of controlling any human community by his ‘field theory’, <…>” Mr Kuzmin, won’t you be disappointed to find out Kurt Lewin was dead as far back as 1947?

Alongside plagiarism and plenty of “scientific revelations”, Kuzmin’s work is abundant with repetitions making for its volume. Right, the most blatant copy-paste to be found a page, a sentence, or even words apart:

26 Besides those already mentioned, the following foreign authors should be included: P.L.Berger, M.B.Block, C.Bochinger, A.J.Brose, R.S.Cavan, A.L.Cobb, P.B.Clarke, Y.C.Chao, M.D.Curry, C.D.Cox, Y.C.Chao, L.L.Dawson, R.R.Dynes, S.Schachter, B.Gaustad, C.A.Heatwole, R.D.Hopkins, P.C.Lucas, E.A.Lockley, T.H.Reilly, S.Shimazono, F.L. Weller, B.R.Wilson, J.F.Zygmunt et al. (whose works are listed in the Bibliography of section).”

Just full namesakes!

“<…> arcane rites, and become service spirits. The other realm is the terrestrial (earthly) one, the “Realm of Moon”. That is the destination of the destination of those sect followers who adhere to its teaching but nevertheless don’t <…>”

Okay, might have been a typo. Anyone may blunder. But how do you explain this?

“<…> religious experience impoverishing its cultural, moral, and intellectual image, whereas nowadays sects pose dangers at a fundamentally different level. A future in which such organizations are in existence whose beliefs justify alienation and violence, is such that, unless this problem is brought up to be tackled at the national level, awaiting us are most tragic consequences of the activities of destructive sects.

The religious sense present in the activities of cult followers implies a stronger motivation. A future in which such organizations are in existence whose beliefs justify alienation and violence, is such that, unless this problem is brought up to be tackled at the national level, awaiting us are most tragic consequences of the activities of destructive sects.

So, here is a “work” with over half of it plagiarized, with voluminous repetitions, with all kinds of absurdities to think of, failing to meet the requirements for a scientific work.  It did earn Kuzmin an academic degree, Master of Philosophy. One feels that when writing it he knew beforehand it would be accepted without any close inspection.

It’s not yet easy to answer what guided the Dissertation Council in judging whether Kuzmin’s work met the criteria set for dissertations. The Russian Government Statute of 30 January 2002 #74 (edition of 31 March 2009 #279) “On Academic Degree Conferment Procedure”, in force at the defence time, contains some specific stipulations.

For example, Article 8:

“A dissertation being defended for conferment of a Master degree must be a work suitable for an academic qualification, presenting a solution to a task of considerable significance for the given branch of knowledge.

Article 9:

“The dissertation must have been written personally, contain a range of novel scientific results and postulates put forward by the author to be publicly defended, possess inner integrity, and testify to the author’s personal contribution to science.

Article 12:

“While writing the dissertation, the applicant is obliged to provide references to the author and the source of materials or individual results being used.”

“In case of appropriated material being used without reference to the author and the source of the material, the dissertation shall be turned down regardless of the stage of its consideration, and the right for re-application for defence shall be denied.

The updated Russian Government Statute of 24 September 2013 #842 “On Academic Degree Conferment Procedure” maintains the essence of the above articles.

It is worth drawing attention to the fact that Kuzmin’s dissertation advisor was Mr Vladimir Nikolayevich Belov, Professor at Saratov State University, who is, along with Kuzmin, a member of Russian Ministry of Justice Expert Council on Religious Studies. One can’t but wonder how he managed not to notice the numerous breaches while studying the dissertation of the student in his care.

We extend our sincere sympathy to the Seminary students being taught by Kuzmin, and to the religious organizations that await conclusions from this “expert” for Russian Ministry of Justice.

We call for attention on part of Mr Alexander Dvorkin, President of Russian Association of Centers for Study of Religions and Sects, which Kuzmin has been a member of since 2006, and since 2012 Secretary In-Charge. For it is, amongst others, Dvorkin’s book that gets its text fragments plagiarized by Kuzmin, without reference, being passed off as his own.

Sources (in Russian):

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