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2018 election California politics

California secession organizers say they've opened an embassy -- in Moscow

California gained an embassy in Russia last weekend, at least in the eyes of those who have promised to seek a statewide vote on secession, nicknamed "Calexit," in 2018.

Louis Marinelli, a San Diego resident who is the leader of the group promoting an effort to turn the state into an independent country , organized the Moscow event that was publicized on social media.

"We want to start laying the groundwork for a dialogue about an independent California joining the United Nations now," he said in an email Monday.

Marinelli is currently working as an English teacher in Russia, and said he is there working on immigration issues related to his wife, who is a Russian national.

The effort faces the longest of odds, requiring not only initial approval by California voters in 2018 but a subsequent special election in 2019. Even if successful then, the proposal would have to pass difficult if not insurmountable legal obstacles.

Marinelli said he's not discouraged by the high hurdles.

"All major social and political movements in this country take time and inevitably have to overcome failures and setbacks before they are ultimately successful," he said.

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