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Tajik Presidential Campaign Lifts A Few Phrases From Yanukovych, Putin

  • RFE/RL's Tajik Service

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon's campaign team apparently draws its inspiration from the leaders of Ukraine and Russia.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon's campaign team apparently draws its inspiration from the leaders of Ukraine and Russia.

"Why Will I Vote For Emomali Rahmon?"

That's the question a member of the Tajik president's campaign team attempted to answer in a recent newspaper article. But in laying out his case, it appears the writer borrowed words from other well-known political figures in the region.

Ilhomjon Hamidov, who wrote the article published by AsiaPlus on October 19, is now under fire for allegedly plagiarizing passages from the campaign speeches and platforms of the current Ukrainian and Russian presidents, among others.

In the first paragraph of the Russian-language article, Hamidov wrote that as the November 6 poll approaches, Tajikistan faces "new challenges":

"The extremely complicated realities demand a sensible and effective reaction from the top levels of government and call for coordinated actions aimed at heading off crisis situations."

Eagle-eyed readers quickly noticed similarities to Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych's 2009 election platform:

"The extremely complicated realities demand a sensible and effective reaction from the top levels of government and call for coordinated actions aimed at heading off crisis situations."

Further web-sleuthing uncovered evidence of a trend.

Georgiy Kabisov, a candidate for the South Ossetian presidential elections in 2011, also used nearly identical wording in his campaign material:

"The complex sociopolitical situation in the republic demands a sensible and effective reaction from the top levels of government and calls for coordinated actions aimed at heading off crisis situations."

Screenshots comparing Hamidov's texts to the other passages soon made their way to social-media sites like Facebook, along with comments accusing the campaign worker of plagiarism.

Some Facebook users cast doubts over other parts of Hamidov's 990-word article.

The Quotable Mr. Putin

Some highlighted a phrase in Hamidov's article that bears an uncanny resemblance to wording used by Russian President Vladimir Putin while addressing the ruling United Russia party conference earlier this month:

"United Russia carries the burden of responsibility for the decisions taken in the country."

Hamidov's passage appears to have simply replaced "United Russia" with the name of Rahmon's party, the People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan:

"It's not a secret that the People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan carries the burden of responsibility for the decisions taken in the country."

One Facebook comment questioned Hamidov's ability to "find a few words of his own to express himself."

The 27-year-old Hamidov, who aside from working for Rahmon's campaign teaches journalism at Tajik National University, has acknowledged borrowing lines from Yanukovych. He initially argued on his Facebook page that he merely "forgot to put the phrase inside quotation marks," and told Tojnews that all campaign platforms and speeches are more or less the same.

Eventually, however, Hamidov admitted on his Facebook page to "making a mistake," and blamed his youth and inexperience.

"I'm young, and young people usually make mistakes," he wrote.

Written by Farangis Najibullah, based on reporting by RFE/RL Tajik Service correspondents Mirzonabi Kholiqzod and Zarangez Navruzshoh in Dushanbe
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