There were never two opinions: Medinsky’s dissertation for all historians is a pure joke. Even when someone tried to defend him, he pointed out literally that [Medinsky] is a patriot, and he must be protected from the Liberals.
–Dr. Ivan Babitsky, Dissernet
The previously described situation with the Doctor Dissertation of Vladimir Medinsky, Russian Minister of Culture, continues to develop. On October 28, 2016, 24 members and corresponding members of the Russian Academy of Sciences published an open letter in support of the appeal to deprive “Doctor” Medinsky of his doctor degree. This group of scientists belong to an informal association, the “July 1st Club”, composed of members and corresponding members of the Academy who in 2013 refused to follow the order to disband the old Academy and to create a new Academy under the control of bureaucrats. As a result, the new Academy was not created.
In their statement, the signatories declared that the Minister Medinsky “substitutes historical facts with pseudoscientific myths”, and that “the patriotic rhetoric cannot serve as an excuse for incompetence.” They also wrote: “The replacement of normal scientific debate by obscene language against opponents, especially publicly, is intolerable. It is particularly outrageous when such abuse comes from the mouth of the Minister of Culture.”
The signatories expressed their concern about the decision of the High Attestation Commission (VAK) to call off the investigation by the Dissertation Council of the Ural Federal University of Medinsky’s Doctor of Science degree. Additionally, they expressed their resentment of the comments by VAK Chairman Vladimir Filippov that VAK plans to “improve” the appraisal system to protect officials from “slander.”
The signatories demanded “to return Medinsky’s Dissertation Thesis back to the Scientific Council of the Ural Federal University for consideration, since it has already done extensive work on its examination.” They also consider it necessary “to dismiss VAK administration officials that inflicted serious damage to VAK’s reputation.” In conclusion, the statement pronounced: “Recent events compel us to return to the proposal to transfer control over the VAK to the Russian Academy of Sciences.”
The reaction of the Academy official, President Vladimir Fortov, a physicist, was immediate. The same day, October 28, he commented to the press: “They signed [the open letter] as individuals. In any case, this is not the opinion of the whole Academy of Sciences. It includes more than two thousand people.”
President Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov refused to comment on the open letter. As usual, he defended Medinsky: “Minister Medinsky has the necessary skills and a sense of humor to counter with such statements.”