Elbakyan was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan on 6 November, 1988. She is of Armenian, Slavic and Asian descent. Elbakyan undertook university studies in Astana, where she developed skills in computer security. She began Sci-Hub in 2011, characterised by Science as 'an awe-inspiring act of altruism or a massive criminal enterprise, depending on whom you ask'. Following a lawsuit brought in the US by the publisher Elsevier, Elbakyan is presently in hiding due to the risk of extradition. According to a 2016 interview, her neuroscience research is on hold, but she has enrolled in a history of science master’s program at a “small private university” in an undisclosed location. Her thesis focuses on scientific communication.
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