Joaquim Crima, The “Russian Obama,” Finishes Third in National Elections

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Yes, he did finish third in his bid to become a member of the local assembly for the Srednaya Akhtuba district in the Volvograd area of southern Russia.

I found this on The Real News Network, but today on the AP, I found that Joaquim Crima’s hopes were dashed. Still, it’s not a bad showing, 4.75%. I hope that he hangs in there, and shows his penchant for leadership in other ways.

We don’t hear or read in our mainstream media much about Africans in Europe, and especially in Russia. Some of us know that blacks were brought to the Russian Imperial Court as exotic servants (whose biracial children later became court nobles and generals). We know that Pushkin’s works are learned by heart by Russian schoolchildren. However, we don’t know about African students and migrants who later became residents and citizens of Russia. If we know about them, we know the negative: Russians threatening to deport or lynch them for attracting Russian women, or getting jobs or housing “ahead” of them.

From AP:

In the southern Volgograd region, both candidates of African descent running for head of a rural district finished back in the pack.

Joaquim Crima, a Guinea-Bissau native, who attracted wide attention as “Russia’s Obama,” was joined late in the race by Filipp Kondratyev, the son of a Ghanaian father and a Russian mother. Crima, who became something of a local celebrity, accused the local authorities of putting forward a second black candidate to steal some of his votes.

With votes still being counted, Crima was running fourth out of seven candidates, with Kondratyev in last place. The United Russia candidate was leading, with the incumbent district head in second.

Crima has been a resident since 1989. He runs a melon stand in the marketplace.

Crima was sent to the Soviet Union to study by his parents, a common move for left-leaning young Africans in the late 1980s.

He finished his studies in biology at Volgograd University in 1995, married a local woman of Armenian origin and made his living selling watermelons.

He has taken Russian citizenship and some people in the region even call him a Russian name – Vassily Ivanovich.

Crima said it was Obama’s rise to become the first black president of the United States that inspired him to stand.

“I had been thinking of standing for some time, but when Obama came to power I said to myself: ‘This is it, this is the moment’,” he recalled.

But life in Russia has not always been easy for Crima.

“For many people I was the first black they set eyes on. They were scared of me,” he said.


“There is money but it is not used correctly,” said Crima, referring to the corruption that he has pledged to fight. He has also promised to rebuild dairy farms and plots for fruit and vegetables that collapsed in the 1990s.

In the streets, many people wish him good luck in the election.

Others refuse to take his leaflet – but this appears to be a symptom of general political apathy in Russia rather than racism.

How bad is it?

The Moscow Bureau of Human Rights (MBHR), a group that monitors hate crimes in Russia, has counted 59 killed and 235 injured as a result of racist attacks, primarily by skinheads and neo-Nazi types. Although the majority of hate crimes have occurred against migrants from former republics in Central Asia and the Caucasus who work and send money home, at least one African was killed and 18 were wounded in related incidents between January and the end of September.

I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Joaquim Crima. He has something to offer his homeland. Just like Obama.

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~ by blksista on October 12, 2009.

One Response to “Joaquim Crima, The “Russian Obama,” Finishes Third in National Elections”

  1. […] about Russia as of 12/10/2009 Joaquim Crima, The “Russian Obama,” Finishes Third in National Elections – 10/12/2009 Yes, he did finish third in his bid to become a member […]


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