[Ed. – Geez, next we’re going to find out Jimmy Hoffa is buried in Novosibirsk. Look, Russia is sure enough a source of security concerns for America. But dilettantish support for exotic movements like the California secessionists and the TexNats isn’t high on the list. Somebody out there, naming no sophomore journo-ninjas backed by an overage Hungarian socialist, needs to pay a visit to the Grip-Mart.]
[Louis] Marinelli, 30, was an unlikely messenger for the “Calexit” cause. He doesn’t live in California. He lives in Yekaterinburg—about 1,000 miles from Moscow—with his Russian wife. But it was not surprising that he had found a platform for his YesCalifornia movement in Moscow. Secession is a popular topic here—as long as it’s from someone else’s country. The Dialogue of Nations Conference, which attracted separatist-minded contingents from Ireland, Spain and Italy, was hosted by a man named Alexander Ionov, whose group had used money from the Kremlin to pay the travel expenses of one of Marinelli’s pals from Red Square: Nate Smith. Smith is one of the leaders of Texas Nationalist Movement that’s pushing to—you guessed it—break away from the United States.
The strategic advantage of making an argument for the secession of an American state to an audience in central Moscow is hard to gauge; after all, it’s voters in the States who would decide this matter. But the value to Russian interests seems more obvious, at least in the estimation of the leader of a separate and competing California secession movement, who actually lives in the state.
“YesCalifornia isn’t a Californian movement,” said Jed Wheeler, the general secretary of the California National Party. “YesCalifornia is a movement whose optics are all designed for a Russian audience to reinforce [Vladimir] Putin, by talking about…how terrible America is, and reinforcing [the idea that] Putin is this great guy who is admired all over the world.”