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

"I'll get rid of your rats!"
"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