31-year-old Vit Jedlicka has formed his own European nation on a three-square-mile territory located between Serbia and Croatia. The piece of land technically doesn’t belong to either country, so he decided to use the space to fulfill his own political ambitions.
Vit, who is an active member of the conservative Party of Free Citizens in the Czech Republic, has long since wanted to live in a country that doesn’t have an army, and where taxes are optional. When he realised that his ambitions may never be fulfilled in his own country, he decided to found a new one instead.
He revealed that while his initial intention was just to protest against his own country’s policies, he later realised that he and those who share his libertarian views would probably never succeed in changing things in the Czech Republic. So he founded ‘The Free Republic of Liberland’, a nation that functions with a single motto: ‘Live and let live’. The new nation has a new flag, new national anthem, and a provisional government, which is currently collecting donations to assist in drafting the constitution. They accept bitcoin, too!
According to an official statement, “The objective of the founders of the new state is to build a country where honest people can prosper without being oppressed by governments making their lives unpleasant through the burden of unnecessary restrictions and taxes.”
Vit currently serves as the president of Liberland, and will be granting citizenship to about 3,000 to 5,000 people in the next few weeks. The nation’s immigration office, consisting of seven employees, is currently sifting through applications. Surprisingly, a whopping 160,000 people have applied for citizenship! Vit said that he expects the Liberland to eventually have about 35,000 citizens. “We have the busiest immigration office in the world,” he joked.
Of course, not all of them will live in the nation. It is still not clear whether Liberland is officially recognised as a real nation, or how it might even become one. With no army to defend its boundaries, there’s always the threat of either Croatia or Serbia threatening them with force. In such a scenario, Vit says that Liberland will only resort to ‘passive defense’. “We will move, but we will keep our claim to the country,” he explained.
Despite his position in Liberland, Vit plans to continue his work with the Party of Free Citizens. He says he might consider resigning as the president of the new country, if there is a real chance of making a difference in his own nation’s government. “I’m still going to be active in Czech politics,” he said. “I would probably resign and let somebody else run Liberland for me if there was a chance to do political change in the Czech Republic.”
It is unclear if Liberland is for real, or some sort of a political stunt. At this point, it’s just a website where people can apply for citizenship. The Verge reports that while the flag was raised over the said territory after the founding, it has since been taken down and journalists are being kept out by Croatian military. There’s also a rumor that the land was already claimed by another new nation called Paraduin. And the fact that Croatian and Serbian governments have kept mum on the issue so far is also a bit dubious.
But if you’re interested in becoming a citizen of Liberland for fun, you could register through their official website. Just remember, applicants with a Nazi, Communist, or criminal past are strongly discouraged.