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19 Aug, 2009 09:25

“Russian Obama” faces black rival

Russia could soon see the first black man take public office as head of a southern district. Two black candidates join seven other hopefuls contesting the post of administration head in Volgograd region.

Philip Kondratiev, technical director of a construction and engineering centre “Piramida” in Volgograd, has thrown his name into the nominations at the last minute, as the head of Sredneakhtubinsky district’s election committee Viktor Sapozhnikov told Itar-Tass news agency. Kondratiev was born in 1975 in Moscow region.

The second black candidate, 37-year-old Joaquim (Vasily) Crima, is originally from Guinea-Bissau but has been living in Russia for the last twenty years. Joaquim has a son with his wife who he met while they were studying at the same university.

Vasily, as the locals call him, sells watermelons at a local market and believes this helps him understand what people need and how to help them.

Inspired by Barack Obama's victory in the US, Crima promises to bring about change if he's elected, and has already been given the nickname “Russian Obama” by the media.

According to Sapozhnikov, “all formalities of the election law were observed, and documents were accepted from both candidates”.