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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Russian city wants to elect cat as mayor

The Russian city of Barnaul is to get a new mayor next week. The city with about 650,000 residents is about 2,900 kilometers or 1,800 miles to the east of Moscow.

The mayor is to be picked not by vote but the city council together the regional governor will make the choice from six candidates. However, in a poll in which a cat named Barsik ran against the six official candidates, Barsik was the choice of more than 90 percent of those who voted. The cat naturally is somewhat of a media sensation. Residents are fed up with the corrupt city government. As the regional governor, Alexander Karlin, put it: "Through the image of Barsik the cat, our people are sending definite wishes to the future head of Barnaul." Ivan Karpov, a local Communist Party official said more bluntly: "The conclusion has been made that there's absolutely no trust among voters for any of the candidates."
Barsik, a blue-eyed Siamese cat, is probably more photogenic than the six human competitors. In spite of his Siamese background, the Russian social media website Vk's added Barsik to the mayoralty ticket. More than 2,000 people voted in the poll on the website which turned out to be a landslide for Barsik. However, no doubt Kim Jong-Un could easily beat the cat in North Korea. Petr Frisen is at present the mayor after his predecessor was fired for corruption.
The administrator of the poll, who goes by the pseudonym Altai Farmer has launched a crowd-funding initiative that will be used to have a billboard put up in the city center depicting Barsik with the slogan: "Only mice don't vote for Barsik". Barsik can be seen as a kitten here.
The Russians are far behind the Americans in the race to elect a cat as a mayor. Sixteen years ago the unincorporated village of Talkeetna in Alaska elected their feline Mayor Stubbs. Stubbs has managed to survive several events that might have ended his career as described on the appended video. Perhaps if the Russian authorities refuse to recognize Barsik as mayor of Barnauf, Barsik could be shipped to Talkeetna to take over from Stubbs who is due to retire soon. Stubbs appears in good health with clean paws in the appended video.


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