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Calexit Leader Abruptly Quits Campaign to Live Full-Time in Russia

Fraud Alert:

On 17 April 2017, Louis Marinelli, who had headed a high-profile ballot initiative drive to break California off from the rest of the United States, abruptly announced he was dropping the campaign with plans to live permanently in Russia for the foreseeable future:

As I have stated in the past, I do not wish to live under the American flag. I do not wish to live under the American political system or within the American economic system. Regardless, I had long planned to eventually return to occupied California and struggle for her independence from the United States so we could build the kind of country that reflects our progressive values. However, while my frustration, disappointment and disillusionment with the United States remains, these feelings now point me in a different direction. I have found in Russia a new happiness, a life without the albatross of frustration and resentment towards ones’ homeland, and a future detached from the partisan divisions and animosity that has thus far engulfed my entire adult life.

Consequently, if the people of Russia would be so kind as to welcome me here on a permanent basis, I intend to make Russia my new home.

Accordingly, as the author and architect of the Calexit ballot initiative petition which is currently circulating in California, it is only proper, given my intention to seek permanent residence in Russia and not return to California in the foreseeable future, to withdraw that petition from circulation, and to allow a new petition, free from ties to me and drafted by others, to be resubmitted at future date of their choosing.

Marinelli and his Yes California ballot initiative movement gained public attention for what appeared to be a quixotic goal of separating the state known for its politically-liberal bent from a country that had just put right-wing populist Donald Trump into power and given all levers of legislative control over the Republicans. Marinelli also came under broad scrutiny for what appeared to be ties to the Russian government — an uncomfortable circumstance considering an ongoing nationwide scandal over the Kremlin interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

Marinelli has been living in Yekaterinburg, Russia for years,  with his Russian wife. He has said that his wife’s immigration status in the U.S. has long been a source of frustration. But in his farewell statement, Marinelli claims his wife was able to secure a green card:

And so, thirty-six months ago, I started the Calexit campaign in order to establish a country where my wife would not need to live in the shadows and where my family would feel welcome. And I wanted a country to be proud of again… and California, unlike the United States, is a great source of pride for me. But three weeks ago, my wife finally received her green card and now my personal struggle against the United States government has ended.

As I have stated in the past, I do not wish to live under the American flag. I do not wish to live under the American political system or within the American economic system. Regardless, I had long planned to eventually return to occupied California and struggle for her independence from the United States so we could build the kind of country that reflects our progressive values. However, while my frustration, disappointment and disillusionment with the United States remains, these feelings now point me in a different direction. I have found in Russia a new happiness, a life without the albatross of frustration and resentment towards ones’ homeland, and a future detached from the partisan divisions and animosity that has thus far engulfed my entire adult life.

He did not explain why he suddenly chose to return to Russia permanently despite months spent campaigning for California secession and the fact his wife can now legally live and work in the United States. Marinelli did not respond to our questions sent by e-mail and posted on Twitter that he would not be taking questions from the press.

Questions have appeared about Marinelli’s motivations for leading a campaign to break up the United States while living abroad — particularly in a country where the U.S. intelligence community has identified the leadership of implementing a broad program to weaken the U.S. from the inside with a disinformation campaign targeting the 2016 election. Not only did he attend a conference organized by the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, a Kremlin-backed organization, he also was given free office space by the group for an embassy of the “Independent Republic of California.” It is against U.S. and state law for foreign governments or persons to support any candidates or campaigns in U.S. elections. (Marinelli told us his “California embassy” didn’t violate any of those laws because the office space was for personal use only.)

Some of the members of the Yes California movement migrated to its successor organization, the newly-formed California Freedom Coalition, while the California National Party, a rival organization that is building membership to form a political party as opposed to a secession ballot initiative, released a statement calling Marinelli’s entanglements a “distraction” to the overall movement: 

The California National Party (CNP), a political party seeking qualification, has been working tirelessly to create a stronger voice for California. As part of their larger “pragmatic progressive” platform, they advocate greater autonomy and representation for California in the short term and independence over the longer term.

CNP Chair, Theo Slater says, “The CNP is excited and energized by the new possibilities for a stronger California without some of the distractions that have stood as obstacles to an independent California up to this point. We are the fastest growing new political party in California. Every day we register more voters and continue our vibrant growth trajectory.”

The CNP has in the past accused Yes California of being a “Russian puppet” organization that was created to undermine their efforts by co-opting their identity and purposely misleading voters. 

Author:
Bethania Palma

Published:
Apr 19th, 2017

Sources:

Artz, Matthew. “Meet the Founders of California’s Separatist Movement.”
  San Jose Mercury News. 26 November 2016.

Kramer, Andrew E. “California Secession Advocate Faces Scrutiny Over Where He’s Based: Russia.”
  The New York Times. 21 February 2017.

Noyes, Dan. “Exclusive: Leader of Calexit Movement Called Into Question for Ties to Russia.”
  ABC7. 15 February 2017.

Article source: http://www.snopes.com/2017/04/19/calexit-leader-russia/