Louis Marinelli, the founding father of the Calexit movement, is withdrawing his petition for a referendum that would allow California to secede from the United States. Instead of fighting for the cause of California independence, Marinelli intends to make a new life for himself in Russia.

Marinelli, who claims that he has found "a new happiness in Russia," issued a statement indicating that he does not intend to return to California.

“As I have stated in the past, I do not wish to live under the American flag,” Marinelli said in a statement posted on the Calexit movement's webpage, Yes California.

“I do not wish to live under the American political system or within the American economic system.”

Marinelli's collusion with the Russians

Ironically, the Calexit movement gained momentum after it was revealed that Donald Trump's campaign staff may have had secret dealings with the government of Russia -- the place the Calexit movement's leader has decided to make his permanent home.

Activists who support the secession movement began to distance themselves from Yes California after Marinelli began to express an increasing fascination with Russia. In September of 2016 Marinelli and his wife, Anastasia, decided to move to Yekaterinburg, the nation's fourth-largest city. It was there he decided to open the "Embassy of the Independent Republic of California."

As a result of Marinelli's love affair with Russia, several pro-secession splinter groups have broken away from Yes California.

Yes California members seek new home as Calexit movement crumbles

According to the Associated Press, Marcus Ruiz Evans, vice president of the group founded by Marinelli, has stated that he plans on joining another separatist organization called California Freedom Coalition. Evans believes that Marinelli's own collusion with the Russians have made it difficult for people to take the Calexit cause seriously -- a sentiment that is shared by Steve Gonzales, the separatist group's secretary and treasurer.

"It prevented Yes California from getting any serious money, I can tell you that," Gonzales said to the AP, emphasizing that he has never been to Russia.

It is unclear whether or not Marinelli's Russian ties are to blame for the Calexit movement's failure to be taken seriously.

Yes California wasn't the first group to push for Californian independence, and, if history is any indication, it won't be the last. According to Fox News, there have been over 200 different proposals for California secession since 1850.