The separatists of the world will be uniting in Moscow next month.
Secessionists from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Italy, California, Texas, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico will be among those attending a Kremlin-sanctioned and funded conference organized by Russia's Anti-Globalization movement.
On one hand, the event illustrates the Kremlin's love-hate relationship with separatism.
They love it abroad, using covert actions to manufacture it -- and the force of arms to support it -- in places like Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova.
And they hate it at home, where anything that resembles separatism -- or even regionalism -- is brutally suppressed.
But then again, Kremlin hypocrisy and double standards are hardly news.
What Moscow's upcoming separatist jamboree really illustrates, yet again, is the lengths the Kremlin is prepared to go to troll the West by fostering discord, division, and chaos.
Russia's support of the world's separatists -- from the serious to the quirky -- goes hand-in-hand with its backing of extremist and xenophobic parties, movements, and candidates.
What it also shows is the degree to which Vladimir Putin's regime is threatened by a united Europe, which provides an transparent model of governance that contrasts with the Kremlin's kleptocracy; and a consensual model of integration that contrasts with Russia's coercive tactics with its neighbors.
Putin wants the West to be just like Russia, so he can say: "see, you're just as bad as us. Now, let's get down to business."
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