After Brexit, could "Calexit" be next? Leaders of a movement to turn California into an independent country hope so, and have now opened their own "embassy"—in Moscow. "Yes California" backers staked a claim in the Russian capital last weekend as part of a what they call a "non-violent campaign to establish the country of California using any and all legal and constitutional means to do so," the Express reports. Taking a page from Britain's exit from the EU, the group wants to "start laying the groundwork for a dialogue about an independent California joining the United Nations now," leader Louis Marinelli tells the Los Angeles Times. The "embassy" will function as a cultural center to educate Russians about California and promote trade, Marinelli tells the Express.
So why open it in Russia? Marinelli and his Russian wife live in Yekaterinburg, about 1,000 miles from Moscow, per SF Gate. The San Diego transplant teaches English and is there to handle "various personal issues" regarding immigration, reports SF Gate. Marinelli vows not to seek "military assistance" or other help from Russia to bring about California's independence, and instead is hoping for victory via the ballot box. But a referendum calling for the state's secession faces long odds, requiring a nod by California in 2018 and a special election in 2019, not to mention innumerable legal challenges. ("Texit" is gaining steam, and a Northern California county tried earlier to secede from the rest of the state.)