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Shlemenko discredits Monson’s involvement in Russian politics: ‘We brought a monkey who doesn’t speak Russian’

The former Bellator champion believes American fighter turned Russian politician Jeff Monson is a “terrible” city councilman and a disgrace to Russian politics. 

Moskva News Agency

In the wake of Jeff Monson’s appointment as a city councilman in the Krasnogorsk region outside of Moscow in September, the American fighter turned Russian politician has faced some criticism for his decision to join political life in Russia. One of Monson’s most vocal critics is fellow fighter Alexander Shlemenko.

According to Shlemenko, Monson’s appointment to the Krasnogorsk city council is “terrible” for the constituents whom the fighter is responsible for. The former Bellator champion argued that Monson’s inability to communicate in Russian means he won’t be able to understand their issues and therefore cannot impose any meaningful changes or help his community.

“We all laughed as we watched how he read the oath, which not a single word was clear,” Shlemenko said. “It was just terrible and I’m very upset to see this in my country. I think that a councilman is someone who will be responsible for hundreds of thousands of lives. And if this person is not able to even speak Russian, then he is not able to think in Russia, and is not able to make decisions. Most likely, he will just be a puppet that will follow someone’s order. I believe that he is not the best example. We have our own worth athletes.”

Monson was granted Russian citizenship in May 2018 before being nominated by the ruling United Russia party as a candidate for a seat in the Council of Deputies in the Krasnogorsk city district. The 47-year-old gave up his American citizenship before winning his seat in September. When asked whether he believes the language barrier will hinder his ability to do his job, Monson was adamant that he planned to learn Russian.

“I love Russia, I love the culture, and the people,” Monson said in an interview with Vesti News. “I need to learn the language, that’s vital.”

However, Monson’s promise to improve his Russian did not impress Shlemenko.

“They say that we are a third world country. I am very sad — we brought a monkey who does not speak Russian.”