Lonely Planet Writer

Landslide support for cat as city mayor in Siberia

No doubt if it were an option, more people would be happy to vote cats into office rather than humans. Or so it would seem according to one far-flung Siberian town in Russia.

Barsik the cat got 91% of the vote in an unofficial poll in Barnaul, Siberia
Barsik the cat got 91% of the vote in an unofficial poll in Barnaul, Siberia Image by Screengrab from video

The town of Barnaul has become so disenchanted with the level of corruption, nepotism, and incompetence among its local politicians, that it has decided to pin its hopes on a fluffier feline candidate. Barsik the cat has risen to fame in recent months, after finishing far ahead of his human rivals in an unofficial poll that gave him 91% of 5,400 votes.

The young Scottish fold-claw cat’s popularity can be attributed to the locals’ seemingly lacking an alternative, as well as to the fact that the city and region have been rocked by corruption scandals in recent years.

The rugged Siberian landscape. Image by Jim Linwood / CC BY 2.0
The rugged Siberian landscape. Image by Jim Linwood / CC BY 2.0 Image by Jim Linwood / CC BY 2.0

One of the organisers of the poll, who goes by the pseudonym ‘Altai Farmer’ for fear the poll may have ‘repurrcussions’ in his real life off-line, spoke to AFP about local’s political disillusionment: “Residents doubt their competence and professionalism. And they have a right to do so.” He is currently launching a crowd-funding campaign to have a large billboard erected in the town depicting the feline candidate, with the caption, “Only mice don’t vote for Barsik!”