27
Jul
10

Sagbo becomes the first black ever elected in Russia

Jean Gregoire Sagbo made history. This 48 years old real estator became last week the first Black ever to get elected in Russia. A significant milestone offering a more comprehensive approach of racial relations in Russia, far away from the apocalyptic description Western media usually offer.

People in the Russian town of Novozavidovo used to stare at Jean Gregoire Sagbo because they had never seen a black man. Now they say they see in him something equally rare — an honest politician.

Sagbo last month became the first black to be elected to office in Russia. Sagbo’s election as one of Novozavidovo’s 10 municipal councilors is a milestone. But among the town’s 10,000 people, the 48-year-old from the west African country of Benin is viewed simply a Russian who cares about his hometown.

He promises to revive the impoverished, garbage-strewn town where he has lived for 21 years and raised a family. “Novozavidovo is dying,” Sagbo said. “This is my home, my town. We can’t live like this.”
“His skin is black but he is Russian inside,” said Vyacheslav Arakelov, the mayor. “The way he cares about this place, only a Russian can care.”

Inspired by communist ideology, Sagbo came to Soviet Russia in 1982 to study economics in Moscow. There he met his wife, a Novozavidovo native. He moved to the town in 1989 to be close to his in-laws.

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