This is a story about a dead cat, but do not weep for him. This cat is an inspiration. A cat who went from being a stray to being coveted by the Communist party and eventually memorialized with a statue outside a Russian hockey arena. This is the story of Matroskin.
Way back in December 2014, a stray cat wandered into a fish shop at the Vladivostok International Airport. The cat proceeded to get into the display case and consume 63,000 rubles worth of squid and fish. That’s just under $1,000. When you remember this was airport fish, there’s no telling the actual value. No matter the value, the video is priceless.
While the unnamed cat briefly vanished, he became a national hero. Sensing viral fame as his way out of the airport, he eventually showed up again. (What with the shelter and complimentary fish, the cat probably lived at the airport.) The Communist Party offered him a home in St. Petersburg. Via The Siberian Times:
"Sergey Malinkovich, the head of St Petersburg Communists, said: ‘This cat is a Robin Hood or a Che Gevara. She sneaked into a glamorous Rybnyi Ostrovok shop and ate everything there, because only the bourgeois and foreigners can buy food there. ‘But the cat is from our working family. The red whiskered, four-legged, Bolshevik decided to strike and sabotage the plans of these bourgeois. ‘Walking around the airport for years, she could see how ordinary airport workers were eating, how passengers couldn’t even afford to buy a tea in a cafe, and how transit passengers were chewing their humble sandwiches. ‘Yet there was salmon, lobsters, imperialistic prawns… She was eating them and purring for all of us.’ He added: ‘I’m asking Piter’s cats (St Petersburg’s cats) to follow the example of the Far Eastern revolutionary.’"
Alas, politics were not in this cat’s future. The cat was then adopted by the local hockey team – Admiral Vladivostok of the KHL. The cat was named “Матроске” or “Matroskin,” which was the name of a cat from the 1978 animated film “Трое из Простоквашино.” (Three from Prostokvashino)
From there Matroskin lived at the Arsenal arena until he died on Tuesday. Today it was announced that Arsenal would memorialize Matroskin with a statute outside the team’s arena. [Update: the statue of Matroskin has now been unveiled.] The team hopes the statue will become one of the city’s attractions. As a constant reminder of the possibility of upward mobility in life, the one thing the statue won’t be is a statue of limitations.