Russian ex-spy Anna Chapman finds herself at the centre of a plagiarism scandal after prominent bloggers accused her of "copy-pasting" from a book by a Kremlin spin doctor.
It was reported yesterday that her column in the best-selling Komsomolskaya Pravda daily is an almost word-for-word copy of an article in a book by Oleg Matveyechev.
Chapman who was deported from the United States last year along with nine other Russian sleeper agents, has been keeping a high profile in Russia, modeling, editing a magazine, giving lectures and taking a role in the pro-Kremlin youth movement.
In her column about the 19th-century poet Alexander Pushkin who died in a duel with a French officer in 1837, Chapman argued that the 1917 revolution and the ensuing bloodshed could have been prevented if Pushkin, who died at the age of 37, had lived to provide moral guidance.
"Just half a century later, liberals and socialists flooded Russia and killed the czar, heading for the revolution," she wrote. "I'm confident that things would have been different if Pushkin had had time to write his mature works."
The text is almost a direct copy of a passage from Matveyechev's book, which is available online. Unlike Matveyechev, who also serves as deputy governor of the Volgograd Region, Chapman stops short of describing Pushkin's death as a European plot to undermine Russia's global standing. Chapman's office did respond to requests seeking comment.
Plagiarism charges In 2009, then Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was accused of paraphrasing at length from an article co-written by Newt Gingrich when she gave a speech, but her lawyer said that proper credit was given.