Disgruntled Russians want cat as next mayor

  • 20/12/2015
Disgruntled Russians want cat as next mayor

The residents of Barnaul, Russia say they are so tired of corrupt and ineffectual politicians that, after next week's election, most would prefer the city were run by a cat named Barsik.

The Republican Party in the United States aren't the only ones heading into an election and wringing their hands over a political outsider.

But in the Barnaul mayoral race there's little worry their campaign crasher will peel off controversial comments like Donald Trump. That's mainly because the leading candidate in that race, Barsik, can't actually speak.

A city of 650,000 people, Barnaul lies about 3000 kilometres east of Moscow, and next week a local governing council will have to choose the next mayor from a short list of candidates.

But when disenfranchised residents, soured by their choice of local politicians, were recently polled, they said they'd rather have Barsik the cat run the town. In fact, more than 90 percent would prefer it.

Many see the political rise of 18-month-old Barsik as evidence of a general malaise among the wider electorate. Voters have become increasingly dissatisfied with the political system in many Russian cities, where accusations of corruption run rampant.

Despite the cat's high polling numbers, it's not likely the commission will soon be installing a kitty door at Town Hall for the new mayor. However, it's not lost on party bosses that the popularity of Barsik is basically a rejection of all of the other politicians on offer.

"The conclusion has been made that there's absolutely no trust among voters for any of the candidates," said local Communist Party official Ivan Karpov.

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