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“We are hopeless.”

A Romanian commenter succumbs to despair in response to an article in which the prime minister of the country is outed as a plagiarist.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta has been accused of copying large sections of his 2003 PhD thesis in law … more than half of Ponta’s 432-page, Romanian-language thesis on the functioning of the International Criminal Court consists of duplicated text. Moreover, the thesis was republished with very minor amendments as a Romanian-language book in 2004, and also forms the basis of a 2010 book on liability in international humanitarian law. A former PhD student of Ponta’s, Daniela Coman, is named as co-author of the books. Substantial sections of text in all three publications seem to be identical, or almost so, to material in monographs written in Romanian by law scholars Dumitru Diaconu and Vasile Creţu. They also feature direct Romanian translations of parts of an English-language publication by law scholar Ion Diaconu.

Co-plagiarist? Co-copyist? Co-collator? Co-author doesn’t sound right. My guess is that Ponta, who already had a high-ranking government job when he was, er, producing this thing, did almost nothing. Coman was his Appointed Plagiarist. I mean, I doubt he wanted her to plagiarize. But these things will happen when you deputize people to write your thesis for you.

Coman will take the fall, of course. I mean that’ll be Ponta’s first move – to blame it on her. She’s a woman and a subordinate and all. He can’t be everywhere. Coman the Barbarian did it. I myself am a fancy schmancy prime minister and above such things.


A word of compassion here, if I may. It’s one thing when the German defense minister (soon to be the plagiarizing star of a major motion picture) plagiarizes his thesis; or when the president of an American university, like pitiable Glenn Poshard, does the same thing. These are people living in strong, free, and comparatively uncorrupt countries. What I mean to say is that it’s disgusting when people plagiarize entire theses under these conditions.

It’s another thing when people emerging from decades of totally corrupt academic and social life plagiarize. It’s still bad, and they should still take a fall when they are found to have done it. But even now – long after they dispatched the Ceauşescus – the Romanians live within a pretty bogus social reality, with plagiarism merely one part of the general fakery. It’s harder to resist plagiarism under these circumstances.

Margaret Soltan, June 18, 2012 2:18PM
Posted in: plagiarism

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2 Responses to ““We are hopeless.””

  1. University Diaries » Ekh! – Rumania, Rumania, Rumania, Rumania, Rumania, Rumania, Rumania Says:

    […] But with a bit of a plagiarism problem. Starting with the prime minister. […]

  2. University Diaries » Ay, Romania, Romania, Romania, Romania, RoMANia! Says:

    […] Romania’s current prime minister (in 2012, this blog covered the last plagiarizing prime minister) is plausibly accused of plagiarizing a third of his law […]

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