A micronation in Nevada: 'Benevolent dictator' of Republic of Molossia is living his childhood dream

A micronation in Nevada: 'Benevolent dictator' of Republic of Molossia is living his childhood dream
'President' Kevin Baugh (republicofmolossia/Instagram)

MOLOSSIA, NEVADA: A self-proclaimed "dictator" has founded a micronation within the United States. The Nevada-based nation of 'President' Baugh, 60, has attempted to separate from the United States with a new currency and daring navy. His beloved Republic of Molossia, which you might never have heard of, is a one-acre micronation and has a population of just 35. It is based in the north-western Nevada desert. 

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A micronation is a self-proclaimed independent state whose sovereignty is not recognized by the international community. They are frequently small, the result of one person, and are regarded as unimportant by the developed country whose borders their territory resides in. Molossia, Nevada has a currency pegged to the value of cookie dough and a navy consisting of two kayaks.

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It all began in 1977, when Kevin Baugh, then 15, and his childhood best friend, James Spielman, watched 'The Mouse That Roared"- a satirical 1959 film about a tiny, fictitious country at war with the US. "I was struck by the imagination and creativity of that," said the 60-year-old, who asked to be referred to as "Your Excellency" or "President Baugh," during a phone interview with Insider. He hasn't spoken to that friend in four decades, but his desire to rule his own tiny nation still exists.

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(republicofmolossia/Instagram)
(republicofmolossia/Instagram)

The dream of the micronation was born in 1977 at a suburban house in Portland, Oregon. Initially, it was known as the Grand Republic of Vuldstein. Baugh crowned Spielman King and nominated himself Prime Minister. Baugh acknowledged that even then, it was more than a childish daydream. "It was more fictional. I guess you could say," he said. "There was no internet back then, so we made it up as we went along."

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Spielman eventually gave up on the project, but Baugh intermittently worked on it when he was a US Army soldier. In the 1990s, he retired from the army and moved his family to Nevada. He claimed that at this point, he began to take the micronation more seriously. "The internet came along, and I was able to see that other people had created their own countries," Baugh explained. "So I took Molossia from just being on paper to having our own website."

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Baugh discovered that the typical way micronations are created is by claiming the land they currently occupy, as their own. Therefore, he purchased a little plot of land in Nevada in 1998 and declared it to be "the homeland for our country," which was then known as the Kingdom of Molossia. He is the self-proclaimed "benevolent dictator" of what is now called the Republic of Molossia.

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The human citizens all have "dual citizenship" with the US. Citizens vote in US elections and pay US taxes, which Baugh jokingly refers to as "foreign aid."  Molossia has its own currency — the valora. It is pegged to the relative value of chocolate chip cookie dough. The time zone of Molossia is 39 minutes ahead of Pacific Standard Time and 21 minutes behind Mountain Standard Time. "Our entire Navy is composed of inflatable kayaks," Baugh said, adding that there are often training exercises at Lake Tahoe.

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The economy is tourism-based. Approximately 200 people visit Molossia a year. Tourists get their passports stamped upon arrival and are free to explore the sites of the tiny country. "It takes about an hour and a half to see literally every site," said Baugh.

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Governing Molossia, according to Baugh, is "a bit of fun" and "a chuckle," but at its core, it is a serious exploration of what makes a nation and what a world of micronations would resemble.
 

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