The ethnic Berber people of modern Morocco, Algeria, Mali and Libya have fought a century-long struggle for independence. Their struggle for independence began during the Rif War, which led to the creation of short-lived Rif Republic (1920–1926). French colonists often exploited these tensions during their expansion in North Africa, using it to divide and conquer the local inhabitant. Despite the disintegration of the Rif Republic, the Berber independence movement continued throughout the 20th century in Algeria, and in 21st century was led by Tuareg tribes in Mali and Libya (the failed attempt to form the Azawad state within Mali in 2012 and de facto formation of Tuareg autonomy of Ghat within Libya since 2014), and the latest resurgens in Morocco in 2013, escalating into a Berber protest movement in 2016–17.


The Chenouis or Chenoua (in Berber: Icenwiyen) are a Berber-speaking population native to Algeria. They are concentrated in the west-central mountains, and number over 750,000 people.

The traditional area from Fouka (Tipaza province) until Ténès (Chlef province).

The Chenoui traditional territory includes the province of Tipaza, parts of the Chlef province and the north of the province of Ain Defla, and thus are called in reference to the Mount Chenoua which dominates the city of Tipaza, 70 km west of Algiers.

The region is part of the greater Dahra region, a long mountainous region along the Meditternean coasts, separated from the Ouarsenis range by the Chelif river and its valley. It expands from 8 km north of Mostaganem until the Algiers Sahel with its highest point being Mount Zaccar (Miliana).

The Chenoua Mount region, highest point of the Algiers Sahel, is the most eastern part of the Chenoui speaking region going from Fouka (42 km west of Algiers) until Tenès (200 km west of Algiers) or even heading further west till ouled Boughalem in the past. Some people call them the Chelhas of the Tell or even Kabyles of the west.



  • Ethnic group: Fur, Zaghawe, Masalit

  • Proposed state: Darfur

  • Militant organization: Darfur Liberation Front

Throughout its history, Darfur has been the home to several cultures and kingdoms, like the mythical Tora, or the Daju and Tunjur kingdoms. The recorded history of Darfur begins in the seventeenth century, with the foundation of the Fur Sultanate by the Keira dynasty. In 1875, the Anglo-Egyptian Co-dominion in Khartoum ended the dynasty. The British allowed Darfur a measure of autonomy until formal annexation in 1916. However, the region remained underdeveloped through the period of colonization and into independence in 1956. The majority of national resources were directed toward the riverine Arabs clustered along the Nile near Khartoum. This pattern of structural inequality and overly underdevelopment resulted in increasing restiveness among Darfuris. The influence of regional geopolitics and war by proxy, coupled with economic hardship and environmental degradation, from soon after independence led to sporadic armed resistance from the mid-1980s. The continued violence culminated in an armed resistance movement around 2003.



  • Ethnic group: Kabyle people

  • Proposed state: Republic of Kabylia (Berber language: Tagduda Taqbaylit).

  • Government-in-exile: Provisional Government of Kabylia (ANAVAD AQVAYLI UΣTIL).

  • Movement leader: Ferhat Mehenni

  • Political party: Kabylian Movement for Self-Determination (Mak-Anavad).


The Berber Spring, a period of political protest and civil activism in 1980 claiming recognition of the Berber identity and language in Algeria, with events mainly taking place in Kabylie and Algiers.

The background was marked by two decades of harsh Arabization measures instituted by the Arab nationalist FLN dictatorship government, which refused to recognize Algeria’s Berber identity and banned the Berber language altogether.

The Berber Spring is traditionally dated as beginning on March 10, 1980, with the banning of a conference due to be held by the Kabyle intellectual Mouloud Mammeri at Hasnaoua University in Tizi-Ouzou. A critical point was the coordinated arrest of hundreds of Berber activists, students and doctors on April 20, sparking a general strike.

While the Berber Spring was in the end violently suppressed by the Algerian authorities, it created a lasting legacy for Kabylie and the Berbers across North Africa. Many of today’s prominent Kabyle politicians and activists made their name during the Berber Spring events, and organizations such as the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) and the Berber Cultural Movement (Mouvement Culturel Berbère – MCB) were later created by activists of the Spring. The Spring was also an important event for Algeria’s nascent human rights community, including outside Berber circles.

Since the dismantling of the one-party FLN system in 1989—followed by abortive democratization and civil war—a few of the demands of the Berber Spring have been met by the state, and the Berber language is now a national language of Algeria. However, this is still distinct from Arabic, which remains the official language, and many other points of contention remain. In 2014, a number of riots and violent clashes between ethnic Arabs and Berbers lead to a dozen deaths.

Kabyle communities in Algeria have called on the government to allocate funding to promote and preserve their indigenous language, but in February 2017, following the decision by the Algerian parliament to reject an amendment to the 2018 budget legislation that would have formalized the teaching of Tamazight in schools, protests erupted.

500 protesters

Predominantly organized by human rights groups, some trade unionists and a small opposition part, the 500

marching. The protest was

. Algeria’s main opposition forces were not taking part. Large numbers of police had been mobilized to try to prevent the protest from going ahead.

Police at the protest detained Belaid Abrika, a prominent opposition figure and campaigner for the rights of Algeria’s large Berber minority.



  • Ethnic group: Mozabite

  • Proposed state: Mozabite

  • Advocacy group: Chenoua Homeland Association, Chenoui Khaloui Kima Medari, Ichenwiyen, Tipaza Shenwa

  • Political party: Party of the Revolution and Socialism Berber

Mozabite, also spelled Mʾzabite, also called Mʾzab, or Beni Mʾzab, member of a Berber people who inhabit the Mʾzab oases of southern Algeria; namely, Ghardaïa, Beni Isguen, El Atteuf, Melika and Bounoura, as well as two other isolated oases farther north: Berriane and Guerrara. Members of the Ibāḍīyah subsect of the Muslim Khārijite sect, the Mʾzabites are descendants of the Ibāḍī followers of ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān ibn Rustam, who were driven from Tiaret (now Tagdempt) and took refuge (probably in the 9th century) in the desert. According to tradition, they arrived at Sedrata, near present-day Ouargla, in 911, and a century later, choosing, for reasons of defense, the most inhospitable region that they could find, they settled along the Wadi Mʾzab, their first settlement being El-Ateuf, in approximately 1010.

The form of Islām practiced by the Mʾzabites is extremely strict, egalitarian, and separatist. No non-Ibāḍī is admitted into a Mʾzabite mosque. The code of morals is rigid, and the standards of religious purity are high. For this reason, Mʾzabites do not marry outside their sect, and in consequence they are physically quite homogeneous, tending to be short and thickset and to have a short, broad face. The women are heavily veiled and never leave the community. The men, however, are found throughout Algeria, running small businesses, often groceries, but returning to the oasis periodically. The Mʾzabites produce a variety of handicrafts, including pottery, brassware, jewelry, and carpets; there is a carpet festival in the spring.

An immense palm grove, the result of perfected methods of cultivation, provides work for the population between May and December. Scientific approaches to the distribution of water (according to a strict and complicated code) and the construction of dams have been effectively carried out, and the lushness of the Mʾzab gardens is legendary.


inhabiting the Aurès, Batna and Khenchla Oum bwaghi Biskra regions located in and surrounded by the Aurès Mountains.

Shawiya, also spelled Chaouïa, are a Berber ethnic and linguistic group, second in size only to the Kabyle. They inhabit the Aurès Plateau region of the Atlas Mountains of northeastern Algeria.

They also live in the Tébessa area and other parts of eastern Algeria coextensive with ancient Numidia, as well as a few adjacent towns in Tunisia. They call themselves Išawiyen/Icawiyen, meaning “shepherd”.

The Shawiya practice cereal agriculture in the uplands and pastoral nomadism and horticulture in the oases along the edge of the desert, migrating between the two areas. The Shawiya have only limited interactions with the urbanized Arabic-speaking Algerian population, to whom they are a tribal minority. Nominally Sunni Muslims, most Shawiya have only rudimentary knowledge of the textually oriented practices of Middle Eastern Islam.

Traditionally, Shawiya interaction with outsiders was limited to trade with settled Berber groups, particularly with their Kabyle neighbours, who speak a closely related dialect, and to seasonal employment in the Arabic-speaking areas of the Maghrib. Organized according to clan divisions, Shawiya villages in the uplands are occupied only in the summer months of the migration cycle.

Although their isolation from the center of Algerian power prevented them from playing a larger role, the Shawiya strongly opposed the French in the Algerian revolution in the 1950s, reflecting an awareness of national issues that suggested a continued integration of the Shawiya into mainstream Algerian culture as it adjusted to the emergence of Algeria as a significant oil-exporting nation.

After the independence of Algeria, the Chaouis remained localized mainly in the Auresian region. They are the second Berber-speaking group in terms of number of speakers, the first being the Kabyle.



Nestled in the mountains between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a tiny breakaway republic is struggling for outside recognition. Nagorno-Karabakh – known also as the Artsakh Republic – is a disputed region that became a place of heated territorial battles following the break-up of the Soviet Union. According to most of the world, the Nagorno-Karabakh region is a part of Azerbaijan, however this previously autonomous Soviet territory was largely inhabited by ethnic Armenians, who had been publicly demonstrating since February 1988, calling for a union with Armenia. When Azerbaijan moved to deny the region its autonomous rights in November 1991, the response was a referendum for complete secession. The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh voted overwhelmingly for independence, at which point Azerbaijan boycotted the process and began deploying military troops. The ensuing war continued until May 1994, when Russia entered to help broker a reluctant ceasefire. That ceasefire (mostly) continues to this day. The entire length of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is closed, the countries are no longer on speaking terms, and in the Karabakh mountains to the south where a population of some 150,000 ethnic Armenians live in a self-declared republic on the Azeri side of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, tensions tend to run higher than anywhere else.

The "Kapok flag" used by those supporting  independence of the Cantonese homeland  ( Guangdong  and part of  Guangxi ).The "Kapok flag" used by those supporting  independence of the Cantonese homeland  ( Guangdong  and part of  Guangxi ).

The “Kapok flag” used by those supporting independence of the Cantonese homeland (Guangdong and part of Guangxi).


Proposed tricolour flag for  East Cantonia  (廣東), used by autonomist activists.Proposed tricolour flag for  East Cantonia  (廣東), used by autonomist activists.

Proposed tricolour flag for East Cantonia (廣東), used by autonomist activists.

Guangdong (also known as Canton Province and alternately romanized as Kwangtung) is a coastal province in South China on the north shore of South China Sea. Cantonese speakers in Guangdong province, which gave the dialect its name, are culturally very connected to those living across the internal immigration border in the former British colony of Hong Kong, where Cantonese has been an official language of government and the lingua franca of most residents for generations. In 2010, thousands of people took part in mass protests in Guangzhou in support of the Cantonese language after a mainland Chinese political body called for cuts in Cantonese-language broadcasts. Flash mobs showed up in public places wearing white as a sign of protest, sparking similar actions in Hong Kong. However, activists reported intimidation by state security police in the wake of the demonstrations.

Cantonese culture is directly connected with Hong Kong, and because of this there has been a because it has been wiped out in favor of Mandarin in mainland China.

Unofficial flag of the Canton autonomist movement.Unofficial flag of the Canton autonomist movement.

Unofficial flag of the Canton autonomist movement.


  • Ethnic group: Ainu

  • Proposed state: Republic of Ainu

  • Political parties: Ainu Party (アイヌ民族党, Ainu minzoku tō)

  • Political group: Ainu independence movement


The region of Inner Mongolia is home to several ethnic groups, predominantly Mongolians, though there has been a considerable effort put forth by the People’s Republic of China to colonize the region with Han Chinese. While the movement is widely supported by members of the Mongolian diaspora, the movement itself is led primarily by three popular organizations: the Inner Mongolian People’s Party, led by Temtsiltu Shobtsood (Xi Haiming); the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance, led by Hada; and the Mongolian Liberal Union Party, led by Olhunud Daichin. The stated goals of all three organizations are the secession of Inner Mongolia from the People’s Republic of China, and either the establishment of an independent Inner Mongolian state or the unification of Inner Mongolia with “Northern Mongolia” (a.k.a. the Mongolian state).



The Lahu are one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People’s Republic of China, where about 720,000 live in Yunnan province, mostly in Lancang Lahu Autonomous County. In Thailand, the Lahu are one of the six main groups categorized as hill tribes.[3] The Tai often refer to them by the exonym Muso ( มูเซอ, ‘hunter’). They are one of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam, and mostly live in Lai Châu Province.

A few Lahu, along with the Hmong, Lao, and Mien were recruited by the United States Central Intelligence Agency to help fight against the communist Pathet Lao, known as the secret war, during the Laotian Civil War.[citation needed] In fear of retribution when the Pathet Lao took over the Laotian government in 1975, those who had helped the United States fled to neighboring Thailand seeking political asylum.

Historical flag of the  Ryukyu Kingdom .Historical flag of the  Ryukyu Kingdom .

Historical flag of the Ryukyu Kingdom.


Flag described in Article Seven of the unofficial Constitution of the Republic of the Ryukyus.Flag described in Article Seven of the unofficial Constitution of the Republic of the Ryukyus.

Flag described in Article Seven of the unofficial Constitution of the Republic of the Ryukyus.

The current political manifestation of the movement emerged in 1945, after the end of the Pacific War. Some Ryukyuan people felt, as the Allied Occupation (USMGRI 1945–1950) began, that the Ryukyus should eventually become an independent state instead of being returned to Japan. From the 1950s through to 1972 however, many pushed for reunification with the mainland, hoping that this would hasten the end of the U.S. occupation (USCAR 1950–1972). The islands were returned to Japan on May 15, 1972 as the Okinawa Prefecture according to the 1971 Okinawa Reversion Agreement. The US-Japan Security Treaty (ANPO) signed in 1952 provides for the continuation of the American military presence in Japan, and the United States continues to maintain a heavy military presence on Okinawa Island. This set the stage for renewed political activism for Ryukyuan independence.

Sansei Ten'yo-ki (三星天洋旗), literally "the Flag of Three Stars, the Sky and the Ocean". Designed by Takehiko Noka, it is the flag of the  Kariyushi Club , a political party that seeks the independence of the Republic of Ryukyu. The party also plans to use it as the flag of the Republic, when it gains an independence.Sansei Ten'yo-ki (三星天洋旗), literally "the Flag of Three Stars, the Sky and the Ocean". Designed by Takehiko Noka, it is the flag of the  Kariyushi Club , a political party that seeks the independence of the Republic of Ryukyu. The party also plans to use it as the flag of the Republic, when it gains an independence.

Sansei Ten’yo-ki (三星天洋旗), literally “the Flag of Three Stars, the Sky and the Ocean”. Designed by Takehiko Noka, it is the flag of the Kariyushi Club, a political party that seeks the independence of the Republic of Ryukyu. The party also plans to use it as the flag of the Republic, when it gains an independence.

The Ryukyu independence movement claims both the 1609 invasion by Satsuma Domain and the Meiji construction of the Okinawa prefecture as colonial annexations of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It is highly critical of the abuses of Ryukyuan people and territory, both in the past and in the present day (such as the use of Okinawan land to host American military bases). Okinawa comprises only 0.6% of all Japanese territory, yet 75% of all United States military forces are stationed in U.S. facilities that take up 10.4% of Okinawa Prefecture i.e. 18.8-20% of Okinawa Island. U.S military personnel have been involved in many crimes committed in Okinawa, one of the most well-known being the 1995 Okinawa rape incident. The continued presence of the U.S. military remains a source of contention, especially against the Futenma Air Station. The U.S. military has failed to follow through on plans established in 1996 to reduce its presence. Independentists also emphasize the devastating environmental impact of the American bases accepted by Tokyo.

Since 1970, one of the leading forces behind the independence movement was the Ryukyu Independent Party, which became the Kariyushi Club in March 2008. According to a survey conducted in 2005, about 20-25% of the population of Okinawa and the Ryukyus favor independence from Japan. Supporters of the movement advocate not only the independence of the Ryukyuan islands, but also the inclusion of the Amami Islands in Kagoshima Prefecture, former part of the Ryukyu Kingdom until 1609, to be part of an independent Republic of Ryukyu.

ROJAVA (The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria)

  • Ethnic and ethno-religious group: Kurdish, Yazidis

  • De facto autonomous region: Flag of Rojava.svg Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava

  • Political party: Democratic Union Party

  • Militant organisation: People’s Defence Units

  • Political Movement: Democratic Confederalism, Democratic Socialism, Feminism, Ecosocialism

A de facto autonomous region in northeastern Syria. It consists of self-governing sub-regions in the areas of Afrin, Jazira, Euphrates, Raqqa, Tabqa, Manbij and Deir Ez-Zor. The region gained its de facto autonomy in 2012 in the context of the ongoing Rojava conflict and the wider Syrian Civil War, in which its official military force, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has taken part.

While entertaining some foreign relations, the region is not officially recognized as autonomous by the government of Syria or any international state or organization. Northeastern Syria is polyethnic and home to sizeable ethnic Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian populations, with smaller communities of ethnic Turkmen, Armenians and Circassians.

The supporters of the region argue that it is an officially secular polity with direct democratic ambitions based on a libertarian socialist ideology promoting decentralization, gender equality, environmental sustainability and pluralistic tolerance for religious, cultural and political diversity, and that these values are mirrored in its constitution, society, and politics, claiming it to be a model for a federalized Syria as a whole, rather than outright independence.


With the slow shift of authority from Moscow to the republics and the growth of cultural self-awareness, Yakut-Sakha has gained a new autonomy. Unfortunately, as before, the autonomy may be in name only. Although local authorities declared independence in 1990 and renamed the region Yakut-Sakha Soviet Socialist Republic, what that means is under dispute. Originally there was talk of political separation from Russia, which would give the republic control over its own resources, currently the goals have become more moderate.

Balzer sees a cultural and spiritual revival occurring in Yakut-Sakha, a rekindled pride in culture and language that integrates the poetic, the traditional, the religious, and political into a popular movement. What that means for the average farmer or worker remains to be seen.

The republic fosters close cultural, political, economic, and industrial relations with the independent Turkic states through membership in organizations such as the Turkic Council and the Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture.



The Talysh are an Iranian ethnic group occupy a region shared between Azerbaijan and Iran which spans the South Caucasus and the southwestern shore of the Caspian Sea, which was historically a khanate. The Talysh-Mughan Autonomous Republic was a short-lived self-proclaimed separatist nation located in extreme southeastern Azerbaijan that rose during political turmoil in June 1993. A military rebellion against president Abulfaz Elchibey broke out under the leadership of Colonel Surat Huseynov. Colonel Alikram Hummatov (Alikram Gumbatov), a close associate of Huseynov, and the leader of the Talysh nationalists, seized power in the southern part of Azerbaijan and proclaimed the new republic in Lankaran, escalating violence. However, as the situation settled and Heydar Aliyev rose to power in Azerbaijan, the Talysh-Mughan Autonomous Republic, which failed to gain any significant public support, was swiftly suppressed in August of the same year. Since then the Azerbaijani government has implemented a policy of forceful integration of Talysh, Tat, Kurds and Lezgins minorities. The National Talysh Movement (NTM) was formally created in 2007 by Talysh leaders exiled in the Netherlands. The members of the organization include those who were in support of the Talysh-Mughan Autonomous Republic such as Alikram Hummatov, the self-proclaimed president of Talysh-Mughan. The movements favors an autonomous region within Azerbaijan. It also demands the promotion of democratic, cultural, and linguistic rights of all minorities within Azerbaijan.


The Uyghurs are recognized as native to only one region, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. They are considered to be one of China’s 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities. The Uyghurs are recognized by China only as a regional minority within a multicultural nation and China rejects the idea of them being an indigenous group.

The Uyghurs have traditionally inhabited a series of oases scattered across the Taklamakan Desert comprising the Tarim Basin, a territory which has historically been controlled by many civilizations including China, the Mongols, the Tibetans and the Turkic world. The Uyghurs started to become Islamised in the tenth century and became largely Muslim by the 16th century and Islam has since played an important role in Uyghur culture and identity.

Twice, in 1933 and 1944, the Uyghurs successfully gained their independence; the First East Turkestan Republic was a short-lived attempt at independence around Kashghar, and it was destroyed during the Kumul Rebellion by Chinese Muslim army under General Ma Zhancang and Ma Fuyuan at the Battle of Kashgar (1934). The Second East Turkestan Republic was a Soviet puppet Communist state that existed from 1944 to 1949 in the three districts of what is now Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture during the Ili Rebellion while the majority of Xinjiang was under the control of the Republic of China. Religious Uyghur separatists from the First East Turkestan Republic like Isa Yusuf Alptekin and Muhammad Amin Bughra opposed the Soviet Communist backed Uyghur separatists of the Second East Turkestan Republic under Ehmetjan Qasim and they supported the Republic of China during the Ili Rebellion.

The Uyghurs are one of the largest minorities in mainland China, but they do not do not possess their own independent sovereign nation-state, the notion of Uyghur nationalism is highly controversial.

While there is currently no consensus among separatists about whether to use “East Turkestan” or “Uyghurstan” as a name for the aspirant nation, “East Turkestan” has the advantage of also being the name of two historic political entities in the region, while Uyghurstan appeals to modern ideas of ethnic self-determination.

Currently, the Uighur population faces systematic oppression from the People’s Republic of China; their land, known by the Chinese name “Xinjiang”, has been turned into a police state, with an estimated one million detained in camps for brainwashing, with the remaining population under extreme forms of surveillance, including face and voice recognition, iris scanners, DNA sampling and 3D identification imagery. The Uyghurs’ religion and language are suppressed in the region, and there are also reports of medical testing and forced organ harvesting of the Uyghur population by the Chinese government.


Yunnan independence , referred to as independence , refers to the idea and movement of a political entity that believes that Yunnan should be separated from the Chinese central government and establish independent autonomy. In modern China, first, in Yunnan, Du Wenxiu’s anti-Qing war , which was dominated by Muslim Yunnanese, broke out in the province and established the Pantai Kingdom. Later, influenced by Japanese pan-Asianism , those who advocated revolutionizing the Qing system proposed future plans for Yunnan including Yunnan independence, most of which were foreign students studying in Japan after the Qing Dynasty Western Affairs Movement. 1911 outbreak of the Revolution, the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, Jiyao , who led the outbreak of Kunming Chongjiu uprising . On November 1, 1911, Yunnan announced the establishment of the government of the Yunnan Provincial Government of the Greater China , and was supported by the gentry of all walks of life in Yunnan. Cai Wei was elected as the military governor, and then the Yunnan government took care of the British and French laws and declared independence. On January 1, 1912, the Republic of China was established and Yunnan Province became a province of the Republic of China . Then in the civil war between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party, Yunnan’s politicians also had abortion attempts to establish an independent state.



Euskal Herria

Proposed state: Unification with the Basque Country and Navarre – Euskal Herria

Basques, an ethnic group indigenous to the western Pyrenees, are a nation, and promotes the political unity of the Basques, today scattered between Spain and France.

Basque nationalism, spanning three different regions in two states (the Basque Autonomous Community and Navarre in Spain, and the French Basque Country in France) is “irredentist in nature” as it favors political unification of all the Basque-speaking provinces.



  • People: Karelian

  • Proposed state: Karelia, or unification with Finland

Karelia (Karelian, Finnish, and Estonian: Karjala; Russian: Карелия, Karelija, historically Корела, Korjela; Swedish: Karelen), the land of the Karelian people, is an area in Northern Europe of historical significance for Finland, Russia, and Sweden. It is currently divided among the northwestern Russian Federation (the federal subjects of the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast) and Finland (the regions of South Karelia and North Karelia).

he latest polls show that approximately 26% to 38% of Finns would like to see Karelia return to Finnish control and some 51% to 62% would oppose such a move. In Russia, people associate the word “Karelia” with the Republic of Karelia instead of Finnish Karelia, which makes conducting polls more difficult. In a 1999 poll by MTV3, 34% of the people of Vyborg supported returning Karelia to Finland and 57% were opposed. Vyborg and the rest of the ceded Karelia outside the Republic of Karelia nowadays contain very few ethnic Finns, and is almost exclusively inhabited by people who moved there during the Soviet era and their descendants.

In the latest poll in Finland about the question, 36 percent of Finns supported the return of ceded territories, compared to 51% who are opposed. The poll was conducted by the newspaper Karjala and the research institute MC-Info Oy on 13 October 2005. In August 2005, a poll by Helsingin Sanomat and Suomen Gallup, determined that 30% of Finns supported and 62% opposed the return.[20] In a poll by Taloustutkimus and Karjalan Liitto conducted in May 2005, support was 26% while 58% were opposed.[21] A year earlier, a poll by STT showed 38% supporting and 57% opposing. A poll by Taloustutkimus was criticized by ProKarelia for asking leading questions, such as, “Do you support the return of Karelia, even if it would mean more tense relations or even war with Russia?”[22] 5% of supporters and of those who declined to respond supported the return even under these circumstances (2.1% of all replies).[23]

Current flag of the Komi Republic.Current flag of the Komi Republic.

Current flag of the Komi Republic.


  • People: Komi

  • Proposed state: Komi Republic

  • Political organizations: Komi Republican Organization

  • Advocacy movements: Komi Voityr, Finno-Ugric Peoples Consultative Committee

  • Organization: Komi People’s Congress

  • Movement: Komi National Movement

In recent years Komi activists have been calling for the adoption of a new flag for the republic featuring a Nordic cross. Supporters of the change argue that the Nordic cross flag is better suited for Komi as it highlights its connection to Finland and Scandinavia, the Komi being related to the Finns. The most wildly used flag was created by Sergey Sivkov in 2011 and uses the colors of the current flag. Blue symbolizes the lakes and rivers of the land, green for the taiga, and white for the snowy winters.In recent years Komi activists have been calling for the adoption of a new flag for the republic featuring a Nordic cross. Supporters of the change argue that the Nordic cross flag is better suited for Komi as it highlights its connection to Finland and Scandinavia, the Komi being related to the Finns. The most wildly used flag was created by Sergey Sivkov in 2011 and uses the colors of the current flag. Blue symbolizes the lakes and rivers of the land, green for the taiga, and white for the snowy winters.

In recent years Komi activists have been calling for the adoption of a new flag for the republic featuring a Nordic cross. Supporters of the change argue that the Nordic cross flag is better suited for Komi as it highlights its connection to Finland and Scandinavia, the Komi being related to the Finns. The most wildly used flag was created by Sergey Sivkov in 2011 and uses the colors of the current flag. Blue symbolizes the lakes and rivers of the land, green for the taiga, and white for the snowy winters.

The ethnic Komi belong to the Permian branch of the Finno-Ugric peoples whose homeland is in the north-east of European Russia around the basins of the Vychegda, Pechora and Kama rivers. They mostly live in the Komi Republic, Perm Krai, Murmansk Oblast, Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in the Russian Federation.

On July 20, 2017 Russian President Vladimir Putin made an announcement at the meeting of the Presidential Council on Interethnic Relations in Yoshkar-Ola, stating that the study of native languages should be made voluntary, not compulsory, and created the ipetas to remove the protected status of native languages. This sparked protests in the Komi Republiuc, with protesters denouncing Putin and equating his policy with cultural genocide. The protesters believe that this is a temporary measure to lull the vigilance of those who are fighting for the preservation of the Komi language. The speakers in the village of Koslan suggested that the executive committee of inter-regional public movement “Komi Voityr” (“Komi Nation”) convene an extraordinary congress on the defense and preservation of the Komi language. As a result of the protests, the head of the Komi Republic, Sergey Gaplikov, suspended the order of the “optional” status of the Komi language.

On December 17, 2017 The Week of Protest was announced by Save Pechora, the oldest environmental organisation of the region, in response to the Russian government ignoring the interests of the republic’s residents when they decided to abolish the referendum banning the use of oil pipelines over 20 years old. The protesters stressed that the republic has been suffering from oil pollution for many years and that this is one of the most serious problems in the Komi Republic. This environmental-centered protest would again be heard in 2019, when 7,000 people rallied in the Komi Republic to protest against the “colonial politics” of creating of a landfill in nearby Archangelsk region for garbage from Moscow.



  • People: Udmurts

  • Proposed state: Udmurtia

  • Movement: Congress of the Peoples of Udmurtia



  • Proposed state: Republic of Lakotah

  • Ethnic group: Lakota people

The Republic of Lakotah, or Lakotah, is a proposed independent republic in North America for the Lakota people and other First Nations. Proposed by activist Russell Means, one of the prominent members of the American Indian Movement in the late 1960s and 1970s, the suggested territory would be enclaved by the borders of the United States, covering more than 77,000 square miles over North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana. These proposed borders are those of the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie between the United States government and the Lakota. These lands are now occupied by Native reservations and non-Native settlements. Citizenship in the proposed republic would be open to people of all races and to any resident of the land Lakotah claims. The group said they planned to issue their own passports and driving licenses in the name of the proposed nation.

The group proposed that the nation be organized as a confederation that would respect the libertarian principles of posse comitatus and caveat emptor, would offer “individual liberty through community rule,” and would collect no nationwide taxes. However, individual communities within the proposed nation would be allowed to levy taxes with the consent of the taxed. Russell Means suggested that the proposed nation should not use fiat currency but instead adopt a gold standard. Means stated that this system of government is derived from the traditional Lakota government system, saying, “we are going to implement how we lived prior to the Invasion. Each community will be a mini-state unto itself … They will form the federation known as Lakotah.”

On December 17, 2007, Russell Means and other three members of the Lakota Freedom Delegation traveled to Washington, DC to declare their wish to withdraw from the constitutionally mandated treaties, separate from the US, and to form the Republic of Lakota. Technically, members of the Republic of Lakotah movement don’t consider themselves secessionists because they consider themselves part of an independent sovereignty that never belonged to the United States.

Zapatista (Chiapas)

  • Ethnic group: Chiapas Mayas

  • De facto autonomous area: Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, Flag.svg Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities

  • Political parties: Council of Good Government

  • Militant organization: Zapatista Army of National Liberation

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), often referred to as the Zapatistas, is a far-left libertarian-socialist political and militant group that controls a substantial amount of territory in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico.

Since 1994 the group has been nominally at war with the Mexican state (although it may be described at this point as a frozen conflict). In recent years, the EZLN has focused on a strategy of civil resistance. The Zapatistas’ main body is made up of mostly rural indigenous people, but it includes some supporters in urban areas and internationally. The EZLN’s main spokesperson is Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano, previously known as Subcomandante Marcos (a.k.a. Compañero Galeano and Delegate Zero in relation to “the Other Campaign”). Unlike other Zapatista spokespeople, Marcos is not an indigenous Maya.

The group takes its name from Emiliano Zapata, the agrarian revolutionary and commander of the Liberation Army of the South during the Mexican Revolution, and sees itself as his ideological heir. Nearly all EZLN villages contain murals with images of Zapata, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and Subcomandante Marcos.[5]

While EZLN ideology reflects libertarian socialism, the Zapatistas have rejected and defied political classification. The EZLN aligns itself with the wider alter-globalization, anti-neoliberal social movement, seeking indigenous control over local resources, especially land. Since their 1994 uprising was countered by the Mexican army, the EZLN has abstained from military offensives and adopted a new strategy that attempts to garner Mexican and international support.

Zapatista communities continue to practice horizontal autonomy and mutual aid by building and maintaining their own health, education, and sustainable agro-ecological systems, promoting equitable gender relations via Women’s Revolutionary Law, and building international solidarity through humble outreach and non-imposing political communication. In addition to their focus on building “a world where many worlds fit”, the Zapatistas continue to resist periodic attacks. The Zapatista struggle re-gained international attention in May 2014 with the death of teacher and education promoter Galeano, who was murdered in an attack on a Zapatista school and health clinic led by 15 local paramilitaries. In the weeks that followed, thousands of Zapatistas and national and international sympathizers mobilized and gathered to honor Galeano. This event also saw the famed and enigmatic unofficial spokesperson of the Zapatistas, Subcomandante Marcos, announce that he would be stepping down, which symbolized a shift in the EZLN to completely Indigenous leadership.




The Murrawarri Republic is a micronation that declared its independence from Australia in 2013, claiming territory straddling the border of the states of New South Wales-Queensland within Australia. The territory is the traditional homeland of the Murrawarri people, an aboriginal nation, but the majority of the population is now non-indigenous Australians. The government of Australia has not acknowledged the declaration of independence, and their independence has been wholly unrecognized.



  • Pressure Group: Consejo de Todas las Tierras/Aukiñ Wallmapu Ngulam (Council of All Lands)

  • Proposition: Self determination for the Mapuche people.

Wallmapu is the mapudungun (Mapuche language) name for the ancestral territory of the Mapuche people and nation, located in southern Chile and Argentina. Unlike many other indigenous peoples of the Americas, the Mapuche were never defeated by the Spanish Empire. By the sixteenth century, the Kingdom of Spain had already established a border by which it recognized the political and territorial autonomy of the Mapuche Nation. These territorial limits remained stable after Chile´s independence. It was not until 1881, with the so-called “Pacification of the Araucanía”, that the Mapuche territory was violently annexed by Chile, with much of the territory was given to foreign settlers and auctioned for the creation of large estates. The Mapuche were incorporated by force into Chilean citizenship and their lands reduced to just over 6% of their ancestral territory.

Throughout the twentieth century, the usurpation of Mapuche territory continued under different mechanisms, becoming most severe under thefascist dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) with the elimination of communal land ownership and the subsidized sale of vast Mapuche lands to forestry companies. Along with continued repression by the military during Pinochet’s dictatorship, the Mapuche began to live in extreme poverty for the first time in their history.

Today, the Mapuche constitute approximately 10% of the Chilean population, concentrated both in the south of Chile (Wallmapu) and in the central metropolitan area. While many Mapuche have migrated from their communities to cities throughout the country in search of work, the connection with their ancestral territory continues to be a fundamental part of their identity, with the Mapuche regularly visiting their communities and families and participate in indigenous ceremonies and rituals.

Founded in 1989, the Council of All Lands or Aukiñ Wallmapu Ngulam (AWNg) is an organization which seeks self-determination for the Mapuche people, with the goal of creating a “Mapuche State” out of the Argentine and Chilean-occupied territories. The orginization’s current leader is the werkén (spokesperson) Aucán Huilcamán.

The Chilean-Mapuche conflict is multidimensional; ethnic, ideological, economic and political elements call into question the legitimacy of a regime that allows for unrestrained exploitation of natural resources by large companies. The escalation of the conflict in the last two decades has generated high levels of violence and impoverishment that threaten the economic and cultural survival of the Mapuche people.