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Moscow police arrest journalist who founded project that finds plagiarism in senior state officials’ academic work

Police in Moscow have arrested journalist Andrey Zayakin, the founder of a popular anti-plagiarism project, for donating 1,000 rubles (about $16) to Alexey Navalny’s outlawed Anti-Corruption Foundation. Zayakin is reportedly charged with “financing extremist activity” — a felony offense punishable by up to eight years in prison.

The arrest took place on Sunday, August 28. At the time of this writing, Zayakin was in court for his arraignment hearing. Prosecutors reportedly asked the judge to place him under certain restrictions (on his movement and communication with others) while they build their case.

A Moscow court placed Zayakin under a pre-trial “ban on certain activities” on Monday, August 29. As reported by Novaya Gazeta Europe, he has been barred from leaving his house between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., communicating with witnesses in his case, sending and receiving correspondence, and using the phone and the Internet.

Launched in 2013, the Dissernet project examines scholarly theses and dissertations. On numerous occasions, Dissernet researchers have found plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct in papers by prominent Russian politicians and state officials, including St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov, former Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, and Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev.

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