Author: Tengiz Jananashvili



The year 2024 commenced with a fresh, acute phase of the migration crisis in the United States of America. To halt the wave of migration, Texas Governor Greg Abbott resorted to radical measures: the Texas National Guard was dispatched to protect the Mexican border, and barricades were erected. Concurrently, border control was restricted to the Border Police and Immigration Service, which reports to the federal government. The migration crisis has since escalated into a constitutional one, pitting the state government against the federal.

In both media and political discussions, there is a growing presence of voices advocating for the secession of Texas, a move often referred to as “Texit.” The Kremlin is closely monitoring the constitutional crisis and the rise of separatist sentiments. Russian MP Sergei Mironov has offered assistance to the Texan state in gaining independence. Sergei Mardan, a Kremlin propagandist and TV presenter, remarked, “If your enemy is confronted with a problem, you should help it escalate into a disaster.”

Russia has a longstanding history of backing separatist factions. Since the 1990s, the Kremlin’s primary focus has been on separatist regions within the post-Soviet sphere: Abkhazia, Gagauzia, Transnistria, Donbas, Nagorno-Karabakh, “South Ossetia”, and Crimea. Over the past three decades, Russia has effectively fomented rebellion and subsequently annexed these territories.

However, in recent years, the Kremlin’s sphere of destabilization has expanded, exemplified by its support for Western separatist movements. This blog aims to analyze Moscow’s relationship with these movements and to explore why the Kremlin lends its support to separatist forces.




Russia, separatism and the “export of chaos”

Vladislav Surkov’s article, “Where Has Chaos Gone?”, published in the fall of 2021, offers valuable insights into explaining the logic behind the Kremlin’s actions. As a former adviser to V. Putin, Surkov briefly outlines Russia’s foreign policy, emphasizing the importance of expansion and territorial acquisition, as well as the creation of unrest in other countries. According to Surkov, such tactics are deemed essential for the survival of any empire, including Russia. Additionally, Surkov discusses the concept of exporting chaos, suggesting that destabilizing other nations strengthens the empire and fosters societal cohesion. Support for separatist sentiments emerges as one of the most potent factors contributing to destabilization.

The East European type of separatism is characterized by a significant geopolitical dimension, one highlighted by the intervention of external countries in the separatist regions of other nations through the provision of political, diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian support. This phenomenon has been notably observed in the Balkan countries, Cyprus, the Caucasus, Ukraine, and Moldova.

During the 1990s, Russia actively supported separatist movements across the post-Soviet landscape, extending assistance to regions such as Abkhazia, Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh, and “South Ossetia”. Concurrently, this period saw the emergence of separatist sentiments in Donbas and Crimea within Ukraine. However, Moscow also faced internal separatist challenges during this time, particularly in regions like Chechnya and Tatarstan. Consequently, the Kremlin’s efforts were primarily concentrated within the post-Soviet space, albeit with limitations imposed by the intensity and scope of its activities.

In 2008 and 2014, Russia achieved what could be termed as “successes” in Georgia and Ukraine. Through the occupation of Abkhazia, “South Ossetia”, part of Donbas, and the annexation of Crimea, the Kremlin effectively instigated destabilization in these countries and halted their European integration processes.


Since 2014, Western separatist movements have increasingly become targets of Russia’s efforts. This includes regions such as Texas and California in the USA, Catalonia in Spain, and Scotland in the United Kingdom.


The Anti-Global Movement of Russia

The “Anti-Global Movement of Russia” is a socio-political movement that actively collaborates with European and American separatist movements. It staunchly supports the full sovereignty of world states, and aligns itself with nations and states that resist unipolar dictatorships. With connections to organizations in 32 countries, including America, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and others, the movement operates internationally.

Despite its broader international connections, the movement maintains closer ties with authoritarian and totalitarian countries such as Syria, North Korea, China, Iran, Palestine, and others.

On September 20, 2015, the international conference “Dialogue of Nations” took place in Moscow, organized by the Anti-Global Movement of Russia. The event was attended by Russian deputies, foreign political parties, and socio-political organizations that support the independence of world regions and nations, such as the separatist movement “Novorossiya”, international movement “Ukhuru”, “National Movement of Texas”, the Irish Republican Socialist Party, Republican Party “Sinn Fein”, European Communist Party “Millennium” (Italy), “Catalan Solidarity for Independence”, delegates from “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics”, and others. The official statement of the movement emphasizes that there are small nations in the world with a historical experience of political independence, and that their sovereignty is still relevant today. This includes Texas, Puerto Rico, the Hawaiian Islands, Catalonia, Scotland, Ireland, Venice, Western Sahara, and more.


A year later, a conference of the same name was again convened in Moscow, with representatives from various separatist regions in attendance. The official statement underscored the inherent and inalienable right of any nation to self-determination.

Texas and California

Since the 2016 presidential election, separatist sentiments in Texas and California have gained momentum. According to a 2018 US Senate report, disinformation surrounding the notion of Texas secession was a prominent theme during the election. The primary sources of this disinformation were propaganda channels such as “Heart of Texas” on Facebook and @rebeltexas on Instagram, which amassed over 100,000 followers on Facebook. The New Knowledge report revealed that both accounts were actively promoting secession, popularizing the hashtag “#Texit”, as an analogue to the British Brexit, signifying secession from the US.

The Kremlin’s objective in 2016 may not have been fully realized, and the idea of separatism initially garnered a limited response, marking merely an initial attempt to export separatist chaos to the Western world, yet it left a noticeable impact.

In 2024, amid border and constitutional crises, the idea of secession has resurfaced. Presently, the “Texas National Movement” (TNT), founded in 2005, and with ties to the Russian anti-globalization movement, stands as the largest organization advocating for state independence. Its leader, D. Miller, has capitalized on current events in the state by announcing the secession of Texas. In February, Miller and his supporters visited the governor’s office, having gathered 170,000 signatures. He asserts that tens of thousands of both Democrats and Republicans support the idea of independence. Despite the migration and constitutional crises, the activities of the national movement in Texas have intensified, though they still lack widespread support.

The central figure behind the secession movement in California is Luis Marinelli, a former Republican who has shifted to a more radical liberal stance. Marinelli founded the separatist organization “Yes, California”, and has emerged as a prominent pro-independence activist in the state. According to a federal investigation, Marinelli was sponsored and financed by Moscow.

Marinelli resided in Moscow for a period and maintained close ties with Alexander Ionov, the leader of the Anti-Global Movement of Russia, participating in conferences organized by the movement and sponsored by the Russian government. Ionov urged Marinelli to incite destabilization in California by storming the governor’s administration, although this attempt proved unsuccessful. Ionov also proposed the establishment of an “Embassy of California” in Moscow, an offer that Marinelli accepted. In 2017, they held a conference at the “Embassy of California”, which was attended by various anti-globalization and separatist organizations.

Based on a June 2021 Bright Line Watch poll, 37% of Americans support secession. Among Republicans, separatist sentiments are strongest in the southern states and mountainous regions, while, among Democrats, they are strongest on the west coast and northeastern part of the country. In Texas, separatist attitudes have reached 44%, and in California, 39%. The economic and political importance of these two states for America should be considered. Based on these circumstances, it is not surprising that these two states have become targets of the Kremlin.

Scotland and Catalonia

In contrast to Texas and California, Scottish and Catalan separatism is well-organized, with proponents of secession having formed political parties and public organizations that hold representation in their respective country’s legislatures. The Kremlin has been closely monitoring recent developments in these two regions, recognizing that the chance of Scotland and Catalonia seceding is currently at its peak.

According to a 2020 British intelligence report, Russia exerted influence over the outcome of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and collaborated with the separatist Scottish National Party. Additionally, the former Prime Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, launched his talk show on the Russian propaganda platform Russia Today, where he advanced narratives advocating for the region’s separation from Great Britain.

In the spring of 2019, Jose Luis Alai, an advisor to the President of Catalonia, Carlos Puigdemont, made a secret visit to Moscow. The purpose of the visit was to seek the Kremlin’s support for Catalonia’s independence. While in Moscow, Alai met with Russian officials and businessmen, resulting in the significant footprint of Moscow in Catalonia.

The investigation into the connections between Catalan separatists and Russia is ongoing. In January, the court extended the case for a further 6 months after evidence was found that the Kremlin had promised the separatists $500 million if they left Spain. The investigation revealed that before the 2017 referendum, Puigdemont met with Russian diplomat Nikolai Sadovnikov, who promised military and financial assistance to the separatist leader. It’s important to note that Ionov’s anti-globalist movement openly supported Catalonia’s independence.


Supporting separatist forces and inciting destabilization is an old method that has been oft tried and tested by the Kremlin, particularly in the post-Soviet space. Since 2014, it has been trying to “import chaos” to Western countries. This does not mean that there are no more separatist centers left in the post-Soviet space; indeed, in recent years, the issue of the secession of northern Kazakhstan, populated by ethnic Russians, has become more and more relevant. The main thing for Moscow, however, is to increase the number of separatist centers in unfriendly states.

Russia’s main target is separatist regions in the West which have political and economic importance and are characterized by a large area. That is why much attention is paid to Texas and California in the US, Catalonia in Spain, and Scotland in the United Kingdom, and not to the Hawaiian Islands, Puerto Rico, Basque Country, Northern Ireland, or Sicily, despite their separatist sentiments being no less strong.


In the USA, separatism stems mainly from marginal socio-political movements, and does not have a broad character. However, in California and Texas, separatist sentiments are characteristic of a large percentage of the population, found among both Democrats and Republicans. The separatist movements in Catalonia and Scotland, however, are more organized, with political parties representing both regions developing the idea of secession and having representatives in the country’s parliament. With Russia’s strengthened influence in the Western world in recent years, these separatist parties have also achieved some success, particularly in Catalonia.

The main conclusion to draw from these cases is that Russia cooperates with forces across the political spectrum, be they far-right or far-left, liberal or conservative, socialists or nationalists. The key factor is that any chosen party, movement, or non-governmental organization, should be non-systemic and able to create destabilization and chaos in the state opposing Russia.

Separatism is one of the most potent forms of chaos, posing a threat not only to the territorial integrity and economic and political strength of Western states, but also to the balance of the international system as a whole.