The Calexit movement has opened a make-do Californian embassy in Moscow as an attempt to further flaunt its secessionist agenda. The new institution will be called ‘The Embassy of the Independant Republic of California’. Also known as the ‘Yes California Independence Campaign’, the movement aims at exiting the United States in favour of forming an independent Californian nation-state. The group received greater media and popular attention after the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, hardly surprising considering a large majority of the state voted Democrat in that election.
Its agenda seems to be moving smoothly with the opening of this new embassy in Moscow (of all places). However, as reported by RT, the leader of the movement, Louis Marinelli, has denied any diplomatic role for the embassy. The institution is primarily concerned with acting as a beacon for Californian culture in Russia and promoting tourism.
Marinelli also said that the embassy will open up the conversation in Russia for a movement he compares with the United States’ fight for independence from the British Empire. This is despite promising that Russia or Putin will not play a role in the push for a referendum and ultimate independence.
The role of the embassy will be to allow the movement and the future country to receive international recognition in preparation for the referendum in 2019. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done. In the past, many movements to secure independence for unofficial countries have taken decades, and it was all in vain. For example, the Principality of Sealand centred in an offshore platform near the United Kingdom has been pushing for official recognition since 1975.
The opening of the embassy may simply be a publicity stunt carried out with the hope of receiving greater attention in order to more easily secure the 500 000 signatures required to hold the referendum.
Deciding to establish bilateral relations with Russia seems very bizarre, especially for a Californian movement given the hysteria by the left of American politics in recent days about Russian influence. However, the fact that the whole entire movement is peculiar in itself renders this decision as hardly surprising, which is furthered by the fact that it occurred during a year epitomising the word “bizarre”: 2016.
Who knows what 2017 holds for this movement…