March 16, a referendum on independence will be held not only in Crimea, but also in Venice. However, the role model for the Venetians was rather Scotland and Catalonia.
Voting will begin on Sunday as part of a referendum on the separation of Venice and its environs from the rest of Italy in order to restore the status of a sovereign state with a thousand-year history.
The “Serene” or Serene Republic of Venice was an independent trading republic for a thousand years, until the last Doge (head of state) was deposed by Napoleon in 1797. The republic included not only Venice itself, but also its environs, now united by the Veneto region. It is there from Sunday to Friday that a referendum will be held.
For decades, residents of the rich northern regions of Italy have expressed their deep discontent with Rome’s ineffective and corrupt policies, because of which hard-earned income earned by taxes flows south and often diverges.
The campaigners were inspired by the example of Scotland, where a referendum on independence from Britain will be held in September this year, as well as Catalonia, half of whose population declare their desire to break with Spain. Activists claim that according to a recent poll, 65% of the population of the Veneto region, including historic cities such as Treviso, Vicenza and Verona, are positive about breaking up relations with Rome.
Approximately 3.8 million people were allowed to vote in Veneto, and independence supporters expect a majority vote. They want to call the future independent state “Repubblica Veneta” in Russian “Venetian Republic”.
Moreover, activists of the movement know that voting does not have legal force for the Roman government and can cause a strong constitutional commotion. However, they hope that if everything goes well, they will be able to start taking steps to withhold taxes in the region, which will in fact become a unilateral declaration of independence.
"If the majority vote in favor, we have specialists who will write a declaration of independence. There are also entrepreneurs in the region who are ready now to pay taxes to local authorities instead of Rome," said Lodovico Pizzati, spokeswoman for the Independence Movement of Venice .
"We will not have it like in Scotland, where London expressed its intention to agree with the results of the popular vote for independence. Rome tried to ignore us, but we will not wait for his consent. People are tired of the economic crisis in which the Roman government led us. Scotland and Catalonia are ahead of us, but the land of Veneto is rich and generous, the independence movement has been developing here since 1970, "said Professor Pisatti, who once worked as an economist at the World Bank and is now a lecturer in California State. om university.
However, many residents of Veneto speak out against secession from Italy. "The idea of a Europe consisting of many regions is very outdated. Now we should fight for a Europe of strong nations," said Pietro Piccinetti, head of the opposing committee. "We want change, but within a strong Italy."
By coincidence, voting in Venice will begin on the same day as a referendum in Crimea over separation from Ukraine.
Raffaele Serafini, another independence activist, said: "The Venetians want to free themselves not only from Italy, but also from the euro, the European Union and NATO".
Like several other Italian regions, Veneto is connected with the rest of the country by rather fragile ties that arose not so long ago. After Napoleon's conquest in 1797, which ended the independence of Venice, the city was part of the Austrian Empire for 60 years. And only in 1866 became a part of the new Italian kingdom.