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Newsweek: US States can join Russia, Russian official says

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his address to the nation at the Kremlin in Moscow on Feb. 21, 2022. (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
October 20, 2022

A Russian lawmaker said the country would consider admitting any U.S. state that wants to join the Russian Federation, according to Newsweek.

Alexander Tolmachev, a member of Russia’s parliament, reportedly told Russian media that Moscow will consider any state’s desire to join up after seceding from the U.S.

The reported comment came as Russians fled the country to dodge being drafted into its invasion of Ukraine, which Russia claimed to annex four regions of in September.

Newsweek quoted Tolmachev as saying the U.S. is starting “to decay” and the European Union is “bursting at its seams.” 

He reportedly blamed America’s so-called decay on its foreign policy, adding that it’s “a signal that the citizens of the United States are dissatisfied with their leadership and are ready to take extreme measures, up to secession, if the current policy of America continues.”

Even if a state did want to join Russia, it would be unconstitutional for them to secede from the U.S., according to Cynthia Nicoletti, professor of law at the University Virginia School of Law.

She told Newsweek that was established “by the outcome of our Civil War” and by a 1869 Supreme Court ruling in Texas v. White. And an article of the Constitution “prohibits states from entering into alliances, treaties, or confederations,” she said.

She added that there is “some throwaway language” in the Supreme Court ruling about “whether a state could secede with the consent of Congress or with the consent of all the other states.”

“I suppose theoretically it’s an open question as to whether a state could secede with the consent of Congress or with the consent of all the other states. There’s some throwaway language about the possibility of all states agreeing to allow one state to secede in Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address and in Texas v. White,” Nicoletti added.

While that possibility is still “an open question,” it’s “not a realistic scenario” even if Russia proposed it, she said.