- The Washington Times
Saturday, December 17, 2016

An American citizen spearheading the California secessionist movement said he’ll open an embassy in Moscow this weekend as his separatist campaign looks toward Russia for recognition.

Louis Marinelli, the president of the Yes California Independence Campaign, plans to open the doors Sunday to the Golden State’s first ever “embassy” in none other than the Russian capital.

Mr. Marinelli, 30, has been one of the most vocal proponents in recent years of the grassroots movement dedicated towards gaining California’s independence from the United States. He’s orchestrated that campaign from abroad since at least September, however, when he relocated from San Diego to Siberia to be with his Russian wife, KQED recently reported.

Announcing his plans to open the first Embassy of the Independent Republic of California this week, Mr. Marinelli said the facility will serve as a hub for his secessionist movement to gain support from Russia, notwithstanding tensions between Moscow and Washington currently being at its worst in decades.

“California can’t become a country without recognition from other countries,” Mr. Marinelli tweeted recently.

Indeed, Mr. Marinelli’s efforts have already secured Russian support in the form of the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, a Kremlin-funded group that claims to be “opposed to the global dominance of transnational corporations and supranational trade and financial institutions,” according to its website.

Alexander Ionov, the president of the movement, helped bankroll Mr. Marinelli’s relocation to Russia earlier this year, The Moscow Times reported. Next, according to the newspaper, his group will assist in operating the unofficial embassy.

“It’s not an official embassy, but a people’s embassy, between our nations,” Mr. Ionov told Life, a Russian tabloid.

“There will be picnics in the park, seminars, language courses, and celebrations of national holidays, like June 14, the day California declared independence from Mexico,” Mr. Marinelli said previously of his plans during an interview on Kremlin-funded media. “It’s important to demonstrate to America that its main geopolitical adversary supports California’s self-determination and is ready to cooperate in every way, unlike the United States, of which we’re still a part.”

Notwithstanding the ongoing row between Washington and Moscow, Mr. Marinelli said on Twitter recently that earlier separatist movements ended successfully thanks to similarly unorthodox alliances.

“The Americans got help from France (England’s primary geopolitical foe at the time) in war for independence. History repeats,” he tweeted this week.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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