Russian Lawmaker Demands Return Of Alaska, California’s Fort Ross

 Russian Lawmaker Demands Return Of Alaska, California’s Fort Ross


Over the weekend, a Russian politician made an outrageous demand: the US should return Alaska and a historic settlement in California, as well as pay reparations to Russia for devastating American-led sanctions that have thrown the Russian economy into a spiral.

According to the Express newspaper in the United Kingdom, Oleg Matveychev, a member of the Russian state Duma, listed a set of demands for the US and Ukraine after Kyiv’s “demilitarization” is finished on Russian state television.

The demands include the restoration of Alaska, which the United States purchased from Russia in 1867 as part of the Alaska Purchase, and the old Russian outpost of Fort Ross, California, 90 miles north of San Francisco.

“We should be thinking about reparations from the damage that was caused by the sanctions and the war itself, because that too costs money and we should get it back,” Matveychev said during a Sunday interview.

He also called for the “return of all Russian properties, those of the Russian empire, the Soviet Union and current Russia, which has been seized in the United States, and so on.”

Afterward, he was asked if he meant Alaska and Fort Ross.

“That was my next point. As well as the Antarctic,” he said. “We discovered it, so it belongs to us.”

According to the State Department, the sale of Alaska signaled the end of the Russian Empire’s commerce development and settlement operations along the Pacific coast of the United States. The US government paid $7.2 million for the territory.

The sale was dubbed “Seward’s Folly” by opponents, referring to then-Secretary of State William H. Seward, a proponent of American expansion.

After hundreds of thousands of people migrated to the territory in search of gold in 1896, the label fell out of favor.

In 1812, the Russian colony of Fort Ross was constructed on California’s Sonoma coast. According to the Fort Ross Conservancy, the property was sold in 1841 as it became evident the location was a financial liability after several years of struggle to grow crops and tensions with Americans in the vicinity.

As the US tightens sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Matveychev’s requests are likely to be rejected. The State Department placed new penalties on President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, a Kremlin ally, and 11 other Russian officials on Monday.

President Biden and administration officials were hit with retaliatory penalties by Moscow on Tuesday. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, dismissed the measures’ potential impact.

“I would say, is that won’t surprise any of you, that none of us are planning tourist trips to Russia,” she said. “None of us have bank accounts that we won’t be able to access. So we will forge ahead.”


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