NOVOZAVIDOVO, Russia — People in this Russian town 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.
Jean Gregoire Sagbo last month became the first black to be elected to office in Russia.
In a country where racism is entrenched and often violent, 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 as 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. Jean Gregoire Sagbo plans include reducing rampant drug addiction, cleaning up a polluted lake, and delivering heating to homes.