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Russian Pro-War Pop Star's Thesis Heavily Plagiarized From Wikipedia – Dissernet

Shaman (Yaroslav Dronov) seen performing on stage. Andrei Nikerichev / Moskva News Agency

Pro-Kremlin pop singer Shaman plagiarized large portions of his final thesis at a prestigious musical college in Moscow, according to the prominent anti-plagiarism project Dissernet. 

Shaman, whose real name is Yaroslav Dronov, has emerged as one of Russia's most well-known pop stars over the past year, as he has been regularly invited to perform at state-sponsored events geared toward promoting patriotic values amid the war in Ukraine. 

According to Dissernet, more than half of Shaman’s 2016 thesis, which earned him the equivalent of a Ph.D. in art history at the Gnessin Academy of Music, contained excerpts lifted directly from other sources.

These include at least six pages of Wikipedia entries for the terms “popular music,” “pop music” and “sound engineer,” while 13 other pages in the thesis contained materials on sound production plagiarized from two academic articles and an online database of lectures.

Dissernet said it found that only 16 of Shaman’s 35-page thesis was free of plagiarism, noting that most of those pages contained the thesis title, table of contents, appendixes and other materials not subject to textual analysis.

Shaman is best known for his song “Ya Russky” (I’m Russian), which catapulted him into stardom and recognition from government-affiliated figures.

His usually patriotic songs have been used to bolster support for Russia’s war in Ukraine, with critics accusing the singer of acting as part of the Kremlin’s wartime propaganda machine.

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