This Cat Is Running For Mayor In Siberia
The Debrief: The residents of a remote Siberian city are so disillusioned by their local politicians that they're backing a cat to become Mayor
We’ve all despaired about our politicians at some point: they’re all the same, out of touch, nothing changes. We’ve all wished that a new kind of politician would come along and shake things up.
Well, the residents of a remote Siberian city of Barnul, which is near the Atlai mountains, are so disillusioned by the corruption and nepotism of their local officials that they’re backing a very different kind of political animal.
Barsik, a Scottish Fold, is 18-months-old in human terms which, in cat years, makes him around 21. That’s just the right age to come along and breathe some fresh air into local politics. Could he be Barnul’s answer to Jeremy Corbyn?
The cat has become an overnight star after finishing far, far ahead of his two-legged human rivals in an unofficial poll. By the Atlai Online page on Russian social network Vk. The resentment and political apathy brought on by corruption scandals at city hall helped Barsik to win nearly 91% of more than 5,400 votes.
Barnul has a population of 700,000 people and is about 2,250 miles east of Moscow. It has recently been rocked by a series of high-profile corruption cases.
The city’s former mayor, Igor Savintsev, resigned in August after he was faced allegations of abusing his power. His son, Maxim, is awaiting trial on fraud and embezzlement charges, but has fled to Thailand, according to local media reports.
Speaking in the Guardian a local pensioner, Yevgeny Kunznetsov, said ‘people don’t know who to trust any more. They have come to the conclusion that they can’t trust the authorities.’
Barsik’s owner, also his campaign manager, goes by the pseudonym ‘Atlai Farmer’ as he wants to remain anonymous. He has launched a crowd-funding campaign which he hopes will enable him to raise a billboard in the city’s centre with a huge picture of his cat alongside a winning campaign slogan: ‘Only mice don’t vote for Barsik!’
We wish Barsik luck in his campaign and hope that he can claw his way to the top.
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