A town in Russia has elected the country's first black official - an African immigrant from Benin.
His voters hope to inspire national reforms and put an end to prejudice in Russia.
It is a move that has been hailed by reformers as a milestone in a country with the highest rate of racially motivated crime in the world.
Is this a turning point for Russia? Can Russians overcome racial discrimination? And how different is it to the rest of Europe?
Joining the programme are Masha Lipman, a political analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Centre, Jeff Sahadeo, an assistant professor at Carleton University's Institute of European and Russian Studies, and Innokenty Grekov, a programme associate for Hate Crimes at Human Rights First.
This episode of Inside Story aired from Tuesday, September 14, 2010.