A senior member of the state Duma, Russia’s parliament, said that any U.S. states that want to break away from the country and instead join the Russian Federation will be considered.
The comments come only a week after Russia declared that four regions of Ukraine had become Russian territory, following referendums that were widely criticized by Ukrainian and Western officials as being sham. These were Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south. The votes supported the regions changing from Ukrainian to Russian territory.
State Duma deputy Alexander Tolmachev was responding to an online poll that showed that some Americans wanted their states to break free from the U.S.
If Americans vote to secede some states from the country and express a desire to join Russia, Moscow will consider it, Tolmachev told Russian news site Podmoskovye Segodnya.
The lawmaker said that the U.S. was beginning “to decay,” and that its ally, the European Union, which has also provided strong military assistance to Ukraine, was “bursting at its seams.”
Tolmachev said this was a result of a failed American foreign policy. “Such initiatives are a signal that the citizens of the United States are dissatisfied with their leadership and are ready to take extreme measures, up to secession, if the current policy of America continues,” he said.
Mosregtoday.ru also reported the news, noting that on social media, some 80 percent of New Hampshire residents said they wanted to break away from the United States.
A comment underneath the social media poll said: “Most of Oregon wants to leave Oregon. I support the big Idaho movement. And so should the people living in Texas, Florida, Idaho and everywhere in between. I support any state that wants to achieve statehood.”
However, there was also some opposition to seceding from the U.S. on social media.
“It is important that voting takes place not on social networks, but officially and legitimately, as in the Crimea, Sevastopol, Donetsk and Luhansk republics, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson provinces,” Tolmachev said, referring to online polls.
Cynthia Nicoletti, professor of law at the University Virginia School of Law, said state secession is unconstitutional.
“States can’t unilaterally secede from the U.S.,” she told Newsweek. “This was established both by the outcome of our Civil War and by the Supreme Court in the 1869 case Texas v. White. Article I, section 10 of the Constitution also prohibits states from entering into alliances, treaties, or confederations. “
“I suppose theoretically it’s an open question as to whether a state could secede with the consent of Congress or with the consent of all the other states. There’s some throwaway language about the possibility of all states agreeing to allow one state to secede in Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address and in Texas v. White,” Nicoletti added.
But even if Russia was proposing that, it’s “not a realistic scenario,” she said.
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