Barnaul, a Siberian city of 700,000 people, is so frustrated with their own corrupt politicians that it would rather have a cat be its mayor instead of any of the human candidates running for the post, according to
Landing in the top spot of an unofficial survey, Barsik the cat appears to be everyone’s favorite choice after garnering more than 5,400 votes. The poll, which was run by a popular regional social media page, saw the 18-month old cat accumulating 91% of the total votes cast.
Launched earlier this month by the Altai Online page on Russian social network Vk, the poll paints a vivid picture of the residents’ displeasure with local politicians.
Barnaul has been plagued with corrupt politicians for some time now. The previous mayor, Igor Savintsev, resigned last August over allegations that he abused his power by selling off city-owned land to organizations associated with family members, costing taxpayers 11 million rubles, or $157,000. Meanwhile, Savintsev’s son, Maxim is awaiting trial for embezzlement after having fled to Thailand.
“Altai Farmer”, the pseudonym of one of the polls administrators, explained via The Guardian:
“Residents doubt their competence and professionalism. And they have a right to do so.”
The poll administrators have launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise money to advertise for the cat. The team also hopes that Barsik can become part of the Barnaul brand and boost tourism. He added:
“Barsik is planning to outline his position on the pressing political issues of our region. Besides, he can become part of the Barnaul brand.
“Like it or not, Barsik is part of the political establishment of the region and he will not give up on his political ambitions.”
While not officially a candidate, Barsik the cat may still soon be the official mascot for Barnaul’s political landscape because, like Batman, Barsik may be the mayor Barnaul deserves, but not the one it needs right now.