‘CalExit’ Founder Ditches Campaign, Flees to Russia

‘CalExit’ Founder Ditches Campaign, Flees to Russia

The mastermind of the California secession campaign also known as the ‘Calexit,’ Louis Marinelli, recently said he is deserting the Yes California Independence Campaign as he no longer wants to “live under the American political system.” Instead, the vocal progressive activist will set up a new, permanent home in Russia.

Marinelli ‘Disillusioned’ with the U.S.

Marinelli was behind a tremendously popular petition to include the secession measure in the 2018 ballot, so that Californians can vote on it in 2019. He published Monday a lengthy farewell statement detailing his motives.

He started the campaign long before Trump won the election, but co-founder Marcus Ruiz Evans said Trump’s win sped up the move. Ruiz Evans plans to start a new campaign with a rival group.

Marinelli’s departure was a big shock to many. Even though the secession campaign is located in San Diego, Marinelli coordinated it from his home near Siberia where he moved a decade ago. Furthermore, his wife is Russian-born, he was a St. Petersburg State University student, and now works as a teacher in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

He also wrote Monday that he doesn’t rule out the possibility of returning to “occupied California” to help her break away from the U.S. and morph into a country that “reflects our progressive values.” However, “disillusion” with the current political and economic system made Marinelli abandon the campaign and move in a “new direction.”

He wrote that his new homeland offers him a “a new happiness” and “a life without the albatross of frustration” towards the U.S. He also complained about the “animosity” that has “engulfed [his] entire adult life.” He added he plans to make Russia his new home if the Russians are so kind to welcome him.

Russians Actively Backing Secession Campaigns in the U.S.

It is not the first time Marinelli backpedals on an issue he long-fought for. He had initially led a campaign against gay rights only to change his mind and back gay marriage. In a recent interview, he said Russia President Vladimir Putin backs secession campaigns in the U.S., such as his, in a bid to undermine the U.S. power.

He said that he doesn’t blame Russia for doing so, because the U.S. has employed the same tactic in Russia and in every other country around the world for years. Marinelli, though, underlined that the Russians didn’t give him any direct support in California. So, it is unclear how exactly Putin helped these campaigns.

In California, an overwhelmingly Democratic state, Trump’s victory gave the secession movement a big nudge. Currently, a third of  the population wants to break away from the union. Marinelli’s petition to add the measure to the 2018 ballot has accrued 100,000 signatures, but it needs 485,000 more until July to be successful. Now, there is a formal request to withdraw the petition.

Ruiz Evans told reporters that he too is ditching the Yes California campaign, as people got “spooked” when they learned about Marinelli’s ties to the Russians. Ruiz Evans said he is joining a rival group – the California Freedom Coalition – with which is working on another petition ready to be rolled out on May 1.
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