Furry Candidate's Promise: 'I'll Get Rid Of Your Rats'.

"I'll get rid of your rats" may be an unusual campaign slogan, but Leopold Valeryanovich is an unusual candidate: He's a cat.

Ahead of parliamentary elections and local balloting across Russia on September 17-19, voters in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk were surprised by a campaign stand set up on a downtown square urging them to cast ballots for the feline.

The campaign was announced on Facebook by local historian and activist Andrei Pozdnyakov, who reported: "The first supporters have already appeared for the cat-candidate, whose representatives are shamelessly bribing voters with bonbons."

Leopold Valeryanovich, a gray longhair with an angry expression, is apparently named after Kot Leopold, a popular Soviet-era cartoon cat whose tagline was "Let's all get along."

His patronymic, based on the name Valeryan, is reminiscent of a common Russian natural sedative called valeryanka, which is a treatment for insomnia, anxiety, and nervous exhaustion -- catnip for people, in a way.

It was not clear if the pictured cat was a Siberian cat , a natural breed from Siberia that is Russia's national cat.

Robert Coalson contributed to this report

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

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