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[Courrier International, France]

 

 

Vedomosti, Russia

Obama: The Color of Change for Both Russia and Europe

 

"With Obama's victory, the societies of other countries with large racial and ethnic minority populations, in particular France and Britain, will reconsider the possibility of electing non-White leaders."

 

"The majority of ethnic Russian citizens in our country are against someone of a different nationality heading the government. Russia has yet to internalize the possibility of the emergence of a 'non-Russian' and non-Eastern Orthodox president."

 

EDITORIAL

 

Translated By Yekaterina Blinova

 

November 6, 2008

 

Vedemosti - Russia - Original Article (Russian)

The projected victory of Barack Obama has been met with great emotion in a majority of the world's countries. McCain's victory would have meant a continuation of the U.S. policies of previous years. Obama has persuaded his fellow citizens and most of the world that he will be an agent of change - especially Europeans. Almost 70 percent of French and 73 percent of Spaniards, had they suddenly the right to vote in the United States, would cast their ballots for Obama with only 8 and 11 percent for McCain, respectively.

 

Perhaps the greatest outpouring of joy over the U.S. electoral outcome has been in Kenya, Obama's ancestral homeland. Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has declared the 5th of November a national holiday. Minority rights advocates around the world consider Obama's victory a sign of their own success. It's no accident that the former president of South Africa and anti-apartheid crusader, Nelson Mandela, was one of the first people to congratulate Obama. The dark-skinned candidate's victory over candidate McCain, a White male and Anglo-Saxon Protestant, has become a symbol for many around the world.

Posted by WORLDMEETS.US

 

Even recently, during the 1970s for example, a presidential election victory for a person of color would have been impossible in the United States: the traditions of racial oppression and the prejudices born of this oppression were still too strong and deep-seated. But since then, the situation has changed dramatically. Not long before the election, ninety percent of people polled by CBS television and the The New York Times said they were ready to vote for an African-American candidate.

 

 

With Obama's victory, the societies of other countries with large racial and ethnic minority populations, in particular France and Britain, will reconsider the possibility of electing non-White leaders. For Russia, home to 130 nationalities and where minorities constitute about 20 percent of the population (in the United States it's 31 percent), this is not an idle question. The majority of ethnic Russian citizens in our country - 64 percent of the population according to the Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion - are against someone of a different nationality heading the government. Russia has yet to internalize the possibility of the emergence of a "non-Russian" and non-Eastern Orthodox president.

 

However, beginning today, the question of skin color and the access of ethnic minorities to government control will recede into the background. Obama will have to confront so many outstanding challenges that he is not to be envied.

 

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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US November 7, 7:30pm]