US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday challenged Russians to open up their political system and embrace diversity and dissent, saying Cold War-era thinking would limit their prosperity in the 21st century.
Clinton spoke to university students in Moscow and in Kazan, the capital of Russia's religiously and ethnically diverse republic of Tatarstan. The informal meetings, which wrapped up a five-day tour of Europe, were aimed at helping redefine US-Russia relations.
Clinton appeared taken with oil-rich Tatarstan, where a mosque and church stand side by side inside the Kazan Kremlin. She talked with students about how their republic, with a moderate Muslim majority, could be a model for promoting religious tolerance.
"The level of religious tolerance and interfaith connection, the economic progress, the stability, is very impressive, but it also speaks to how we transfer these lessons," she said.