The Independent Republic of California has opened its first-ever “embassy” in the Russian capital on Sunday.
The president of the secessionist movement Yes California Independence, Louis Marinelli, inaugurated the embassy this weekend following months of negotiations with the Kremlin-funded “Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia” (an organization that opposes the monopolization of the world system by a few individual countries [read: the United States]), the Moscow Times reported.
Today the Embassy of the Independent Republic of California opens in Moscow. Address: Г. Москва, ул. Клары Цеткин дом 4, Офис 324. #Calexit
— CA Embassy Moscow (@CAEmbRu) December 18, 2016
Talking to the Russian tabloid Life, Alexander Ionov, the president of the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, said that the embassy would serve as a hub to boost tourism and foster cultural and economic exchanges between the Golden State and Russia.
During a press conference, Marinelli made clear that he wished to broaden Russian support for the Californian secession movement and “lay the groundwork” for future bilateral relations between an independent California and Russia.
“California can’t become a country without recognition from other countries,” he tweeted earlier this week.
However, the group’s leader failed to specify whether the hub-cum-embassy would play an intermediary role in diplomatic exchanges between Washington and Moscow, amid rising tensions.
The Yes California Campaign —which describes itself as a “nonviolent campaign to establish the country of California using any and all legal and constitutional means to do so” — gained momentum on social media in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in November .
In the days following election results, #Calexit became the rallying cry of hundreds of disheartened Californians, who pushed for the liberal state to secede from the rest of the union.
The movement quickly gained steam, turning from Twitter joke to an organized campaign, backed by Hollywood celebrities like director Paul Schrader and Silicon Valley venture capitalists like Shervin Pishevar.
— Nikki Finke (@NikkiFinke) November 12, 2016
Marinelli, a 30-year-old political activist has been one of the most vocal proponents of Californian sovereignty in recent years. He has been spearheading the campaign from Siberia—where he relocated from San Diego with his Russian wife—since September.
He is now planning to hold a referendum on California’s independence in 2019, if he can gather the 500,000 signatures required for the proposal to be put to a public ballot.
Although he will not be requesting “military assistance from Russia,” to enforce the split he says he will expect the “entire international community to recognize the results.”
— Bear Flagger (@LouisJMarinelli) December 18, 2016
“When (the Americans) wanted their independence from the British empire. They went and pursued military assistance and so on and so forth. We’re not doing anything like that,” he said.
Marinelli has in the past compared the Yes California to the Brexit campaign and the Scottish independence movement.
This will not be the first time that he files a ballot initiative proposal for the secession for California. However, he’s never been successful in gathering enough signatures for it to go to a public vote.