Saule Omarova, President Joe Biden’s pick as Comptroller of the Currency, previously authored a thesis on Marxism, the only copy of which has reportedly been destroyed by Moscow State University.
“A top Russian university has destroyed its only copy of a thesis on Marxism written by a former student who is now Joe Biden’s pick to head a major bank regulator,” reported the Daily Mail.
The thesis, originally titled, “Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital,” raised concern among Republicans on the Senate banking committee, who demanded she turn over a copy for review. Omarova never produced a document, and Moscow State University claims that all such works are cleaned out every five years from its archives.
It was destroyed long ago,” a university official told the Mail. “We do not have a copy.”
Omarova previously addressed the controversy in an interview with the Financial Times, denying that she ever had communist sympathies while arguing that Moscow State University had no tolerance for academic freedom and made the topic mandatory.
“I was in the Soviet Union, where there was no academic freedom, and this was a mandatory assigned topic,” she said. “What I wrote in that paper has nothing to do with what I believed in then or in what I believe in now.”
“My grandmother was orphaned because Stalin sent her entire family to Siberia and they died there,” she continued. “Her family was destroyed because they were educated Kazakhs who didn’t join the party.”
Omarova said that she “became an anti-communitst” along with her classmates while attending the university.
“We were reading stuff that was prohibited,” she said. “We were listening to Pink Floyd, which was illegal, we were talking about Solzhenitsyn [the author and Soviet dissident].”
Photos from the era obtained by the Daily Mail appear to show Omarova as a “Young Pioneer” in the Communist youth mass movement at the age of 21:
It was taken in the year 1979-1980, and she wears the red scarf of a movement dedicated to Vladimir Lenin. Another image shows her in class, believed to be in Grade 9, in 1982-83.
One more is a picture from 1984 of her school graduation when she was already an enthusiastic member of the Komsomol, or Young Communists as she left to study at prestigious Moscow State University. She graduated with a rare gold medal, signifying her academic achievements, and opening the door to her move to the prestigious Moscow university.
Amanda Gonzalez Thompson, spokesperson for Senate Banking Committee Republicans, called on Omarova to produce a copy of her thesis so that senators “have the information necessary to fulfill their constitutional duty to advise and consent on appointments.”
When nominating her as regulator of all national banks and savings institutions, the White House hailed Omarova for being “one of the country’s leading academic experts on issues related to regulation of systemic risk and structural trends in financial markets.”