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In an informal online poll, the residents of Barnaul have elected a cat to be their next mayor. The Siberian city of 650,000 people, which lies 2,900 km east of Moscow, is to get a new mayor next week when a commission comprising the city council and the regional governor choose from among six candidates. But none of the six appear to spark much affection among Barnaul’s residents, because in the online poll asking residents to express their preferences among the six and a Siamese cat named Barsik, the feline nabbed more than 90 percent of the vote. Barsik has attracted much amused attention in the Russian news media. Still, some local politicians understand there’s a more serious message coming from the people of Barnaul, which like many Russian cities has been riddled with alleged corruption.

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