Ukrainian Minister of Education and Science under pressure to resign for plagiarising his PhD dissertation!

Oksen Lisovyi is the opposite of everything that a minister for education and science should be. He is not a civilian professional of unquestionable integrity with a plan and aptitude to build a knowledge-based peaceful future, or even to give students, teachers and scholars a space to in which to hope, trust, and contribute to a better future.

Our study proves that Lisovyi’s PhD thesis has no scientific novelty, something which is a mandatory requirement for such a document, and all its claims of novelty are based on the appropriation of other authors’ work without giving them proper credit. We conservatively estimate a plagiarism level of 43% in Lisovyi’s thesis.

Our discovery of a phrase, odious in patriotic circles, plagiarized from Viktor Yanukovych and Vadym Kolesnichenko, in Lisovy’s PhD thesis confirms the previously expressed guesses by members of the scientific community that Lisovyi probably did not write his PhD thesis himself.

By defending a plagiarized PhD thesis in 2012, Oksen Lisovyi has severely violated the basic standards of academic integrity and has refused to repent when exposed by the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement and other whistle-blowers with overwhelming evidence in 2023. Furthermore, by questioning the obvious proofs of his plagiarism, by trying to convince the public that only state experts should decide whether he plagiarized his PhD thesis or not, and by promising to renounce his PhD rather than to resign if this plagiarism were to be confirmed, Oksen Lisovyi is demonstrating a lack of honesty, a lack of ethical literacy and a lack of common sense. A lunatic should not run the asylum, a criminal can’t be chief of police, and a plagiarist is a bad choice as minister for education and science, especially if they disagree.

Instead of making excuses and posturing, Lisovyi must resign and tell the public the true story of his PhD thesis, especially if he didn’t write his thesis personally, as the evidence suggests, and if it turns out that there is a “dissertation mill” churning out pseudo-scientific work on behalf of others.

Lisovyi’s supporters in parliament must convince him to resign or initiate his impeachment, instead of trying to change the law to give plagiarists a face-saving way to give up their degrees obtained by fraud. Furthermore, a Pacifist critique of the militarist and plagiarist minister must be covered fairly by the media.

Looking at his public image, Oksen Lisovyi is not an academic but rather a soldier. He makes no secret of his intentions to turn education into a weapon, to teach all Ukrainians to live with and participate in endless war, to make combat skills a part of the mandatory school curriculum with no exceptions for conscientious objectors, and to engage youth in the development of military technologies.

The Ukrainian education and science system must take seriously its responsibility to build a culture of peace and nonviolence. Getting rid of Lisovyi would be good first step.

Under the directorship of Oksen Lisovyi the Junior Academy of Sciences (JAS) of Ukraine is teaching schoolchildren to wage an information war, to work for the military industrial complex, to support and help the Armed Forces of Ukraine and to perceive as “enemies” or “traitors” anyone who dares to criticize the Ukrainian army or NATO. Being a UNESCO category 2 centre, the JAS must stop the militarization of youth which contradicts UNESCO Constitution and its peacebuilding mission.

The full report which details the accusations of plagiarism can be found here.

Yurii Sheliazhenko