On April 17, the Syktyvkar city court decided to throw out a defamation suit of Komi Education Secretary Natalia Mikhalchenkova against the online journal "7x7" and the website "Krasnoye Znamya" [Red Banner], as reported by the "7x7" journalist from the courtroom.
The court ordered to dismiss a defamation suit of the Education Secretary against "7x7" and "Krasnoye Znamya".
On April 14, neither Natalia Mikhalchenkova nor her counsel made appearance,so the court scheduled an adjudgement for April 17. This day Mikhalchenkova's counsel Ekaterina Pleshkina asked the court to incorporate the claimant's statement. She cited the findings that report only on 37.75 per cent of matching content in the thesis, that are common used set phrases, institutions names, terms, text and excerpts from documents citation, phrases, publications and conferences titles, legal entities and individuals names. According to Pleshkova, the expert-analytical center itself says that the program Antiplagiat [Anti-plagiarism] can not analyze references in the documents.
"The system finding out plagiarism, so-called Antiplagiat, has nothing to do with the Ministry of Education and Science, nor the Higher Attestation Commission. It was developed in an initiative manner, it has not gone through accreditation and certification process. To draw conclusions about the scientific research quality relying only on the computer examination results is impossible and unjustified. The fact of plagiarism can only be recognized in the court," the counsel believes.
On March 2, 2016, the online journal "7x7" and the website "Krasnoye Znamya" published articles stating that the thesis of Mikhalchenkova had allegedly consisted of almost 40% of plagiarism. The publications were based on the data provided by the Russian Academy of Sciences think tank.
On March 3, 2016, the public relations office of the Syktyvkar State University, where Mikhalchenkova was the acting rector at that time, sent a demand to refute the information.
On November 3, 2016, Natalia Mikhalchenkova was appointed the Education Secretary of the Komi Republic. In mid-December, she filed a defamation suit against the outlets that published data on her thesis. The official demanded to remove the articles and exact from the outlets 1.5 million rubles in equal proportion. Then the case was postponed to January 2017.
On March 21, 2017, during the regular meeting the defense demanded to clarify how the amount of compensation had been justified, as well as which moments in the texts had been defamatory, since the articles appealed to well-known information and value judgments. The claimant's counsel asked to postpone the meeting for three weeks to discuss the position with Natalia Mikhalchenkova. However, on April 14, neither Natalia Mikhalchenkova nor her counsel made appearance. They also did not provide facts denying information about alleged plagiarism in the thesis of the Education Secretary.