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Sovereign Nation of Utah? 'Zaqistan' Plants Flag in Desert

Image: Sovereign Nation of Utah? 'Zaqistan' Plants Flag in Desert
Zaq Landberg has dual citizenship in Brooklyn and Zaqistan.  (YouTube)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 Oct 2015 06:55 AM

Zaq Landsberg, a New York City resident, is slowly building a sovereign nation on a 4-acre plot of land in the harsh Utah desert, and he's named it Zaqistan.

"Zaqistan is here to stay and it will be here for a very long time," Landsberg told the New York Daily News this week. "I am building a country. It’s just going real slow."

Among Landsberg's accomplishments as the singular ruler of the republic are a greeting sign — "Welcome to the Republic of Zaqistan" — a red and yellow flag, its own passports, and a national motto: "Something for nothing." Landsberg has also been peppering it with sizable sculptures over the years.

"Zaqistan is some coordinates on a piece of paper, it’s a national identity, it’s a de facto sovereign nation," said Landsberg, 30.

"I know Zaqistan’s not on par with the United States or Russia, countries that are quote-unquote legitimate or recognized, but I want people to ask where on that spectrum it falls ... I started it as a tongue-in-cheek thing. Like, I’m 20 years old, but I can run a country better than these clowns. How hard can it be?"

Landsberg explained that while he lives in Brooklyn, he visits Zaqistan not infrequently, and actually founded it over 10 years ago. At the time, he had recently graduated from NYU, and did it on somewhat of a lark after finding the plot of land on eBay for $610.

The plot, which Landsberg is reluctant to reveal the exact location of (he doesn't want people to get lost), is roughly 160 miles north of Salt Lake City in Box Elder County.

"Out here, it's not that crazy of an idea to have your own little spot, and to do your own thing and to have your own space and the privacy to do that," he said.

He pays property taxes to the county, but refers to them as tributes, USA Today reported.

Landsberg said that he's grappled with the meaning of the project for some years, at times thinking of it as an art project, and at other times thinking of it as an experiment.

"You’re familiar with Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC?" he asked his interviewer. "He didn’t just pretend to have a super PAC. He filled out the forms, raised the money. But it was still totally ridiculous. It's that kind of idea."

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Zaq Landsberg, a New York resident, is slowly building a sovereign nation on a 4-acre plot of land in the harsh Utah desert, and he's named it Zaqistan.
sovereign, nation, utah, zaqistan
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2015-55-27
Tuesday, 27 Oct 2015 06:55 AM
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