SDE candidate Anastassia Kovalenko latest plagiarism suspect ({{commentsTotal}})

Anastassia Kovalenko.
Anastassia Kovalenko. Source: SDE

Social Democratic Party (SDE) election candidate Anastassia Kovalenko has been accused of plagiarism, in a media report.

Ms Kovalenko, who is also has an international career in motorcycle road racing, is the second SDE member in as many days to be accused of plagiarism; on Wednesday, sitting MP Rainer Vakra was accused of plagiarism in his bachelor's thesis by investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress.

Daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) has now headed its own investigation into Ms Kovalenko's own thesis, or rather theses, in respect of master's degrees she has from the University of Tartu, the first on money laundering, from 2015, and the second on the rights of small shareholders, from two years later.

Three sources

Data analyst Priit Pärnapuu carried out an examination of Ms Kovalenko's work, and found three examples, in the money laundering thesis.

The first of these, EPL says, is over ten consecutive pages from "Rethinking Money Laundering & Financing of Terrorism in International Law" by University of Oxford researcher Roberto Durrieu, reproduced without acknowledgment. The text is verbatim identical to the original Durrieu work, including in paragraph and section structure, Mr Pärnapuu says.

A 2003 article by R.E.Bell, a Northern Irish researcher, on predicate offenses, whilst cited in the thesis twice, has been additionally cited in many more places without reference, EPL reports, and a third plagiarised source, the master's thesis of Indrek Tibar titled "Money Laundering as a Criminal Offense - Definition and History", is also copied without acknowledgment, it is reported.

This is not the first time academic works by Ms Kovalenko, who races a Kawasaki Ninja 600R, and is the first woman Estonian road racer to win internationally, have run into controversy.

Not first problem thesis

In October 2018, she was ordered to publish clear retractions in Tartu University's digital archive, and various Russian-language media channels including Delovyie lyudi, that the 2012 Annual Report from shipping company BLRT was inaccurate and invalid, as well as claims that minority shareholders had been maltreated by majority BLRT shareholders. Ms Kovalenko's father, Valeri Kovalenko, was a minority shareholder in BLRT at the time of the retraction order.

Ms Kovalenko had made the statements in the 2017 MBA thesis paper she wrote at the University of Tartu.

In Wednesday's case, much of Rainer Vakra's bachelor's thesis, "The implementation of the packaging and packaging waste collection and recycling system in Tartu," was simply copy-pasted from a report by  Stockholm Environment Institute Tallinn, formerly Säästva Eesti Instituut (SEI),  Eesti Ekspress stated.

EPL is owned by the same media group, Ekspress Grupp, which publishes weekly Eesti Ekspress.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte



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