Critics of minister's dissertation baffled by PM's comment

The authors of an article about Nebojša Stefanović's doctoral dissertation say they are unclear what PM Aleksandar Vučić meant when he said it was "stupid."

Source: B92

The text that Vučić described as "the stupidest explanation he ever heard" was published on the Peščanik website and claims that the work of Stefanović, who serves as Serbia's interior minister, "abounds in plagiarism."

The three authors reacted to Vučić's comments made on Tuesday to say his only argument was the fact he graduated from the Faculty of Law of the state university, and with honors - "and therefore knows something in this field." The authors say it is still unclear what in their article specifically was "stupid."

In a statement sent to B92 on Tuesday, they said it was noteworthy in this context that one of the authors of the text, Uglješa Grušić, graduated from the same faculty with an average grade of 9.9 and was an assistant at the university before he went to doctoral studies at the London School of Economics. The statement added that "biographies of other authors also speak for themselves."

The three said that they analyzed the entire dissertation and that their "detailed analysis shows that the doctorate of Minister Nebojša Stefanović abounds in plagiarism and other irregularities."

Stefanović on Monday dismissed the allegations and said that the Commission of the private Megatrend University had evaluated his work in "most positive terms" while Rector Mića Jovanović said that it was genuine scientific work and announced the possibility of criminal charges against the authors of the critical article.

At the same time, the Ministry of the Interior started investigating an apparent DDoS attack that brought down the Peščanik website as the controversy began to unfold. The editors of the website said the attack came because of the article they published.

Also on Monday, Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences Snežana Đorđević - whose work Stefanović allegedly plagiarized - said that the dissertation was "solid work" in which she did not recognize parts of her own.

"I read it and did not see that at all, he was just paraphrasing," said Đorđević.

According to her, standards in Serbia are quite different from those that the critics referred to.

"We are far below the standard of Oxford and Cambridge. Remember, we had the isolation, we didn't have the books, the literature, and these standards have unfortunately fallen. I therefore think that it is inappropriate to say that (Stefanović's) work is very poor," the professor was quoted as saying.


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