Veterans halt award of history doctorate

May 14, 2004

Authorities in Belarus have backtracked on the award of a doctorate to a historian after Second World War veterans complained that his work glorified Nazi collaborators.

The degree-awarding body initially approved Ales Paskievich's dissertation on 20th-century Belarussian émigré literature. But then it received a letter that claimed to be a copy of one sent to Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarus president.

The letter, in which the veterans claimed that the emigre writers had been collaborators during the Nazi occupation of 1941-44, was written in language that smacked of Soviet-era propaganda. No explanation was given of how the veterans had learnt of the contents of an unpublished dissertation.

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