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Tatars Say, 'Yes We Can'

While Russian leaders made themselves look churlish with their explicitly anti-American statements following the election of Barack Obama, in the Russian republic of Tatarstan, his victory was greeted with praise and even satisfaction.

In a statement, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said that in the United States there was an unshakeable, stable functioning of democratic institutions.

But there is another reason why Obama's victory is so close to Tatar hearts. A few years ago President Shaimiev introduced a new slogan, intended to promote Tatarstan as a model of political and economic development in the Russian Federation.

"Bez buldirabiz," which in Tatar means "Yes, We can!"

After RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service pointed out the slogans' similarity a few months ago, some commentators in the Russian media speculated that Obama had "borrowed" it from Shaimiev.

Not likely, but a nice story. Nor is it likely that the president-elect has even heard of Tatarstan or Shaimiev himself.

-- Rim Gilfanov

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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