Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cossacks at the Alamo? Putin’s Chechen Toadies Threaten to Arm Mexico for Reconquest of Southwest U.S.

The speaker of parliament of southwestern Russia’s Chechen Republic responded on March 24th to recent measures in the United States Congress to arm Ukraine against Russian aggression by threatening to arm Mexico for a reconquista of vast territories the U.S. swiped in the 19th century.

Chechnya’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov, ready for some sort of reconquista,
in a photo from his twisted Instagram account
The parliament speaker, Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov, said in a statement on the legislature’s website that that day’s 348-48 non-binding House of Representatives vote on supplying “lethal aid” to Ukraine was an overstepping of America’s bounds and that it was time to “resume debate on the legal status of the territories annexed by the U.S.,” including “California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and a part of Wyoming.”  The statement added, “ We reserve the right to conduct conferences in Russia, Mexico and the U.S. to raise the question of breaking away the above mentioned states from the U.S., and [about] supplying weapons to resistance fighters there.”

The Chechen parliament speaker, Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, reminded Chechen leaders three days later that Russian law forbids arms sales abroad by individual constituent republics of the Russian Federation.  But the Kremlin pointedly did not distance itself from the underlying sentiment.

Chechnya fought and lost two brutal wars to secede from Russia after the fall of Communism, the second of which was spearheaded by Putin, punishing the tiny predominantly-Muslim nation with the most lethal and destructive bombing campaign in Europe since the Second World War (the Yugoslav Wars of Succession didn’t even come close).  Since then, Chechnya has been sealed off and under the iron fist of Ramzan Kadyrov, the unelected, Putin-appointed dictator (and, ironically, former separatist rebel) who keeps the peace by toadying to the Kremlin and rewarding his citizens for their compliance with a form of Islamic law that, technically, flouts Russia’s secular constitution, including the reintroduction of polygamy, conservative clerics taking a leading role in public life, and the draining of public coffers to build football-stadium-sized mosques.

The flag of the Chechen government-in-exile
(i.e., not the loonies that run the place now)
Chechnya—along with other predominantly-Muslim Russian republics like Ingushetia and Tatarstan—came out fully in favor of Russia’s illegal invasion and annexation last year of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula (as discussed at the time in this blog; read articles here and here), even though these nations also have a history of suffering horribly under Russian imperialism and even though Crimean Tatars, who are fellow Muslims, have gotten the worst of the Crimean annexation.  Pro-Kremlin Chechen mercenaries are also active in the pro-Russian insurgencies in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic in southeastern Ukraine, and it is widely understood that last month’s assassination of the Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was almost certainly carried out by Chechen special forces.  Chechens, sadly, are the new Cossacks.

Chechen irregulars, from the imaginatively named “Death” battalion,
photographed recently in the Donetsk People’s Republic
So does that mean that Kadyrov’s paramilitary reach is extending to, as Abdurakhmanov put it, “supplying weapons to resistance fighters” in formerly-Mexican parts of the U.S.?  Well, probably not, since such a resistance movement doesn’t really exist.  Sure, there have been publicity stunts.  In 1966 Chicano activists inspired by the recent American Indian Movement (A.I.M.) standoff on Alcatraz island, in San Francisco Bay, occupied part of the Kit Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico and declared it a Republic of San Joaquín del Río de Chama.  Around the same time, radical “Brown Berets” modeled on the Black Panthers took over Santa Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California, claiming that it fell outside the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, the 1848 agreement which cemented the American annexation of the northern half of Mexico after the Mexican-American War.  And groups like the Congreso de Aztlán and the student collective Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán (MEChA, or, in English, the Chicano/Chicana Student Movement of Aztlán) has advocated the idea of the southwestern United States becoming a Hispanic-ruled territory called Aztlán (either as its own country or as part of Mexico).  The former University of New Mexico ethnic-studies professor Charles Truxillo was in the 2000s calling for a new Republica del Norte (“Republic of the North”) including territories on both sides of the current U.S.–Mexican border.  But never have any of these risen above the level of symbolic protest to become an actual movement.

A bit of right-wing propaganda about the (in fact, almost non-existent) Aztlán movement
Nor is the Mexican government interested in taking up the issue, any more than it was when Kaiser Wilhelm II made a similar offer in 1917, during the First World War, in a Berlin–Mexico City telegram intercepted by U.K. intelligence.  And let’s face it, Germany’s military was already stretched a little thin at the time.

But pointing out the shaky ground America stands on when it comes to respect for territorial integrity is part of the Kremlin’s propaganda assault since the invasion of Ukraine last year.  Just as Russia’s English-language R.T. media network teems with the (often right-wing, pro-Putin) separatist movements that plague western Europe—as an example of supposed European vulnerability on the topic—so, also, did the possibility of a Russian re-annexation of Alaska become a “silly season” story of the week (discussed at the time in this blog here and here), and Russia’s lock-step foreign-policy allies in the Western Hemisphere, Cuba and Venezuela, have more than once called for U.S. decolonization of Puerto Rico (as reported on in this blog), even as they (as this blog has also discussed) vote with Russia and against Ukraine in the United Nations.  The message seems to be: if the West thinks it can tell Russia what should be part of Russia and what shouldn’t, then we can play that game too.

Ramzan Kadyrov—wrapping Christmas presents for the Brown Berets?
So far, it’s only talk, but Springtime of Nations will be keeping you posted of any further developments.

Russian nationalists second that sentiment—or at least they pretend to in order to make a point
[You can read more about Chechnya, Aztlán, the Donetsk People’s Republic, and other separatist movements, both famous and obscure, in my new book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas just published by Litwin Books under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements and Aspirant Nations, from Abkhazia to Zanzibar.  The book, which contains 46 maps and 554 flags (or, more accurately, 554 flag images), is available for order now on Amazon.  Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even if you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook and see this special announcement for more information on the book.]

Monday, March 16, 2015

Seeds of Fascism: Century-Old Soiled Hanky Could Enable Cloning of Carnaro Regency’s Tin-Pot Dictator-Prince

Sometimes there’s a theme in a week’s minor news stories, and this week it seems to be: the mislaid spermatazoa of flamboyantly (even specifically upward-turning!) mustachioed Mediterranean fascist-sympathizing bohemian egomaniacs.  First, there was the news that one Pilar Abel, a 58-year-old Spaniard, was filing a paternity suit against the estate of Salvador Dalí, claiming the bombastic Catalan surrealist painter had had an affair with her mother while he was married to Gala Diakonova Éluard Dalí, his Tatarstan-born Russo-Spanish muse.  Of course, the case will get tossed right out; after all, she looks nothing like him:

And now there is the news that police in Italy have used a semen-stained handkerchief to map the genome of Gabriele d’Annunzio, an Italian poet, playwright, and ennobled prince who founded his own authoritarian micronation of sorts, the Regency of Carnaro, in 1919, and styled himself “il Duce” (“the Leader”) in anticipation of the eventual rise of Benito Mussolini.  The aristocratic snail tracks were sent, in 1916, to Countess Olga Levi Brunner, d’Annunzio’s mistress, and were preserved for most of a century in a private collection in Cagliari, Sardinia.  The hanky is now housed with other Annunziana at the Vittoriale degli Italiani (“Shrine of Italian Victories”) museum at his the prince’s former home on Lake Garda in Lombardy.

Gabriele d’Annunzio, Prince of Montenevoso
In the aftermath of the First World War, the Kingdom of Italy and the fledgling Kingdom of Yugoslavia were still squabbling over where their final border would be.  D’Annunzio, a wildly popular poet and war hero, in 1919 marched a makeshift army into Fiume—a then-Italian-populated town which today is on the Croatia side of the border and named Rijeka—and claimed it for Italy.  Italy’s King Victor Immanuel III, however, wanted no part of the plot and declined to formally reabsorb the enclave.  So d’Annunzio—an androgynous and wildly prolific bisexual erotic conqueror who followed the Italian art movement called Decadentism and whose megalomaniacal nicknames for himself included “il Magnifico” (“the Magnificent”) and “il Profeto” (“the Prophet”)—declared the town the Regency of Carnaro (Reggenza Italiana del Carnaro) and ran it as his de facto–independent personal fief for a year before the Italian navy retook the town.  Carnaro’s bizarre constitution, which was a piece of performance art in itself, declared “music” to be the founding political principle of the state, but d’Annunzio’s bombastic balcony speeches and black-shirted militias anticipated—some would say laid the groundwork for—the capital-F Fascism which later, in the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, swallowed up Italy and half of Europe.  (Carnaro was later known as the Free State of Fiume (Stato Libero di Fiume) and in 1924 was formally attached to Italy.  After the Second World War, despite an attempt to revive the Carnaro entity, it reverted to Yugoslavian control.)

Olga Brunner, the prince’s mistress.
She’d better wait till the maid leaves the room before opening the mail.
Two years after Mussolini came to power in Italy in 1922 and began gently bending the monarchy to his will, Victor Immanuel III ennobled d’Annunzio as “Prince of Montenevoso”—the geographical principality in question being an Alpine town and district then within Italy but now known as Snežnik, in the Republic of Slovenia.

Poor Prince Gabriele: before the age of smartphones and “sexting,”
little ... um ... presents had to be sent through the royal mails.
D’Annunzio’s semen and its DNA are being used for comparison with his great-grandson Federico d’Annunzio, the current Prince of Montenevoso (Italy, a republic, nonetheless retains a semi-official aristocracy), and all press reports indicate that it is a test run for forensic genomics that does not rely on exhumation.  Though one wonders if something else is going on.  A succession dispute or paternity case?

In the waning days of the Second World War, a second try
at an independent Carnaro also claimed some now-Croatian islands in the Adriatic.
Indeed, the chief of the museum which owns the crusty rag, Giordano Bruno Guerri, raised, in an interview, the specter of a kind of small-scale version of The Boys from Brazil, musing that theoretically the poet, whom Italians regard as ambivalent sort of national hero and who died in 1938, could now be cloned.  “Nobody wants to clone d’Annunzio,” Guerri hastily clarified, “but nobody knows what changes will take place in science and society.  It’s good the DNA has been collected.”  Hmm, hard to know where he’s going with that.  If Guerri is planning to clone and breed a Decadentist pro-Fascist aristocracy to wrest control of Italy from corrupt republican politicos and imperialist Teutonic creditors, then where will it end?  We may have to swipe Monica Lewinsky’s dress from the Department of Justice’s evidence vault and clone an army of Bill Clintons to stop him.  Who’s in?

[You can read more about the Free State of Fiume, the Regency of Carnaro, and other bizarre and obscure separatist movements in my new book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas just published by Litwin Books under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements and Aspirant Nations, from Abkhazia to Zanzibar.  The book, which contains 46 maps and 554 flags (or, more accurately, 554 flag images), is available for order now on Amazon.  Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even if you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook and see this special announcement for more information on the book.]

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