Saint Petersburg Mining Institute
The G. V. Plekhanov Saint Petersburg State Mining Institute and Technical University is Russia's oldest higher education institute devoted to engineering. Located in Saint Petersburg, the institute is one of the oldest mining schools in Europe, and home to one of the world's finest and most exclusive collections of gem and mineral samples.
The Institute was founded on October 21 OS/ November 1 NS 1773 by order of Empress Catherine II. It was known as the Mining School (Горное училище) until 1804 when it became the Mining Cadet's Corps (Горный кадетский корпус); in 1833, it became the Institute of the Corps of Mining Engineers (Институт корпуса горных инженеров). Since 1866, it has been known as the Mining Institute (Горный институт).
During the Soviet period, it was renamed after Georgi Plekhanov, who attended the institute in the 1870s, and became known as "the G. V. Plekhanov Leningrad State Mining Institute and Technical University." In 1958-1960 a branch of the institute was opened in Vorkuta and night schools at Slantsy, Monchegorsk, and Kirovsk.
Since 1869 the institute has been the headquarters of the Russian Mineralogical Society.
The institute is housed in an Empire style building on the 21st line and the Neva River embankment on the south shore of Vasilievsky Island. It was built in 1806-1811 to a design by the serf-architect Andrey Voronikhin, who also designed the Kazan Cathedral on Nevsky Prospekt and buildings on Paul I's estate at Pavlovsk south of the city. The statues flanking the entrance were sculpted by Stepan Pimenov; the reliefs were done by Vasily Demuth-Malinovsky. The Column Hall and the Caryatid Hall were decorated by Michael Scotti.
Vladimir Litvinenko, who has been rector since the 1990s and has close links to Vladimir Putin, defended Putin's doctoral thesis at the institute in 1996. Litvinenko oversaw Putin's work, which is alleged to include significant amounts of plagiarism and is speculated perhaps to have not even been written by Putin (i.e. that he paid somebody to write it for him). Litvinenko has been criticised for not spotting the plagiarism.
- "It All Boils Down to Plagiarism". Cdi.org. 2006-03-31. Retrieved 2010-03-02. Clifford Gaddy: "Mr. Litvinenko -- who was directly involved in the dissertation, allegedly helped [Putin] choose the topic and was more or less the advisor for the dissertation -- is himself a member of the higher accreditation commission, which is the government-appointed body to be the watchdog over standards about degree-granting, dissertations and quality control for higher education in Russia. So it’s extra scandalous that he would be involved in this case of, at minimum, shoddiness and plagiarism, possibly something worse, which would be the literal purchase, either by money or political influence, of a dissertation by someone who didn’t actually do the work. That second point is not clear. I don’t have proof about that. All I have is proof about the plagiarism."