Wikinews interviews Kevin Baugh, president of the Republic of Molossia
Friday, March 7, 2008
Wikinews held an exclusive interview with Kevin Baugh, president of the Republic of Molossia. Molossia is a micronation or entity that resembles an independent nation but which is unrecognized by world governments or major international organisations.
Molossia is situated on several acres of land in western Nevada, within driving distance of Reno. Unlike most of today's micronations, Molossia allows visitors and has its own economy. It also has its own time zone and holidays as well as a few tourist attractions.
President Baugh said of his country, "Molossia is unique among micronations in that we possess actual land, real terra firma upon which we stake our national claim. Most micronations only exist on the internet and don't have land. We are quite proud of our little country, and display all the trappings of a full-fledged nation, including our flag, boundary markers, signs, a couple of small tourist attractions and so forth, as well as our own money, stamps, national anthem, navy and even a space program.....Our goal is to exercise complete sovereignty over our country without annoying the United States."
The United States recognizes the territory claimed by Molossia as part of the United States and exercises the same dominion over it as it does over any other part of the country.
WikinewsTell us about your country. Why was it started? How long has it been in existence? Do you have a flag, national anthem or currency? Can one become a citizen?
President Baugh: Molossia is a micronation, a self-declared and largely unrecognized country, one of dozens throughout the world. Molossia is unique among micronations in that we possess actual land, real terra firma upon which we stake our national claim. Most micronations only exist on the internet and don't have land. We are quite proud of our little country, and display all the trappings of a full-fledged nation, including our flag, boundary markers, signs, a couple of small tourist attractions and so forth, as well as our own money, stamps, national anthem, navy and even a space program. Molossia was founded in 1977 as the Grand Republic of Vuldstein. The name has changed since then, but the idea is the same - to have our own small country. We were intrigued and inspired by the movie "The Mouse That Roared", about a tiny country in Europe that declares war against the United States and wins by accident. The humor of that situation was not lost on us, and it spawned the idea that we, too, could have our own tiny nation. Once we obtained land 10 years ago, the idea became more real, that we were now standing in a foreign country, deep inside the United States. Since then, the Molossian experience has only grown stronger and more rewarding and we look forward to a long and interesting future for our little nation.
And to answer the last part, no, not everyone can become a citizen. You have to be a physical resident of Molossia to be a citizen, and we are closed to new immigrants at this time - we just don't have the room!
WNToday, there are hundreds of micronations that are little more than online chat groups. Is Molossia a serious micronation?
President Baugh: I would say yes, we are serious. That is to say, serious within limits. Molossia is not a secessionist project. We are not taking up arms to declare independence nor starting an insurrection. However, beyond that, we are quite serious about our country. Our goal is to exercise complete sovereignty over our country without annoying the United States Government too much, and to have a good time doing it.
WNMolossia is surrounded by the United States. Do you consider yourself a Molossian or an American? Do you pay U.S. taxes?
President Baugh: I consider myself a dual citizen, both Molossian and American. Molossia is so small that we rely heavily on the US for support, goods, etc., so maintaining US citizenship is certainly desirable. In addition, it's often very difficult to explain that we have our own country out in the Nevada desert, so it's easier just to play both parts, American and Molossian. And yes, we do contribute to the coffers of the US Treasury annually, however, we call it "foreign aid". They need it, honestly.
WNCan people visit Molossia? Is tourism a vital part of your nation's economy?
President Baugh: Yes, we welcome visitors to our country, although tourism is not a major source of income. In fact, we had 10 tourists visit last year. There are a few sights to see, but a visit usually only lasts about an hour. I escort all visitors around our nation and show them the sights, tell them about Molossia and even serve them cookie dough, our national treat. It's important, though, that visitors do not arrive uninvited. Please contact me first via e-mail and we will agree on a date and time.
WNLegally, can Molossia be considered an independent nation?
President Baugh: Honestly, no. It takes a great deal of effort, time, money and especially legal wrangling to become fully independent, and we are nowhere near that point yet. No, we exist in a limbo state, at the good will of the US, and we are fine with that right now. After all, becoming independent can such a messy affair, and that would conflict with our relaxed lifestyle. We are happy to be the "country just down the road, on the left"!