Louis Marinelli in Yekaterinberg, Russia
How to Make California Great: Secede, With a Little Help From Putin
by Leonid Ragozin, Bloomberg, December 7, 2016 (excerpts)
…It’s 1 p.m. in Yekaterinburg and midnight in Los Angeles when Louis Marinelli, the leader of a California movement to secede from the United States, sits down to lunch at the Double Bar & Grill.
Yekaterinburg is covered in snow and freezing at -4° C (25° F), balmy compared to -32° C the week before. Russia’s fourth-largest city, on the Siberian side of the Ural Mountains, is about as far as you can get from L.A. But the heart of the Yes California campaign beats here.
As president of Yes California, Marinelli is organizing a statewide referendum on independence to be held in 2019—if he can collect half a million signatures by next fall. He runs the secession movement from 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) away while teaching English at a language school in Yekaterinburg. He is preparing the ground for an “embassy of California” in Moscow, with the help of a vehemently anti-American group supported by the Kremlin. The avatar on his professional Facebook page shows him posing in front of the Voskresenskiye Gates that open onto Red Square….
In the U.S., he campaigned against same-sex marriage, working as a social media strategist for the National Organization of Marriage, a conservative group….
Marinelli voted for Trump….
Ten days after returning to Russia, Marinelli took part in the annual Dialogue of Nations conference, organized in Moscow by the Anti-Globalist Movement of Russia. Attended by representatives of mostly left-wing separatist movements from Western Europe, the U.S., and the former Soviet Union, the conference was held at the Ritz-Carlton and funded by a grant of 3.5 million rubles ($54,000) from the National Charity Foundation
The National Charity Foundation, which describes itself as operating “under the patronage” of the Putin administration, is one of several foundations that dispense government grants to nongovernmental organizations . A representative of the foundation declined to discuss the Anti-Globalist Movement of Russia by phone, requesting instead a list of written questions, which it is reviewing.
The Anti-Globalist Movement advocates extreme forms of Russian nationalism and imperialism, as well as supporting the Kremlin’s strategic military intervention in Syria and Ukraine. Its leader, Aleksandr Ionov, sits on the boards of Antimaidan and Officers of Russia, pro-Kremlin groups out to purge Russia of the liberal opposition. In 2013, Ionov met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and made him an honorary member of the movement. Another honorary member is former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad….
Ionov’s movement courts a number of secessionist groups in the U.S., including some in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida, whose representatives have attended its conferences in Moscow. Yes California is “closely coordinating” with the Texas Nationalist Movement, Marinelli said….
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