MOSCOW – 144 years after selling Alaska to the U.S., Russia wants it back.
March 30 marked 144 years since the day when Russia sold Alaska to the United States for five cents per hectare. The adequate agreement was signed at 4 a.m. by the Russian Ambassador to Washington Eduard Stoeckl.
The government of Alexander II sold the huge territory of over 1.5 square kilometers for $7.2 million, gold (11 million rubles, gold).
Now, Vladmir Putin wants Alaska back and he’s told Pravda that he will make it happen before Obama is out of office.
Back in 1867, many Russians were perplexed as to why the government sold the territory which the people of the country had been developing for 126 years. Many in the country were surprised that the selling price for Alaska was so low.
In America, the deal raised many eyebrows too. They found it hard to understand why the country needed 365 million acres of frozen land. The price for that land was too high, many Americans thought.
William Seward, then-Secretary of State, was conducting negotiations with Russia regarding Alaska. He also signed the sales agreement, and he received most criticism for that. Rumor has it that the senators who approved the ratification of the agreement, were bribed by the Russian ambassador. Indeed, historians say that Stoeckl received $25,000 from Alexander II for his efforts.
If bribes did happen, they were probably the bribes that contributed greatly to the development of the country, Americans historians say. Gold was found on Alaska several years after it was no longer a part of Russia. Oil and gas reserves discovered there were worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
It is worthy of note that the sale of Alaska led to long-term negative consequences for the United States. Indians, Aleuts and Eskimos did not recognize the deal. They were granted US citizenship only in 1924.
The situation changed after the discovery of enormous oil reserves in 1968. Three years later, Washington made a decision worth of Solomon. Alaskan Aborigines received approximately 11 percent of the state territory in their property and a share in oil-mining corporations.
Today, 60 percent of Alaska’s territory is owned by the federal authorities of the United States. Twenty-eight percent is owned by the state itself. One percent of Alaska is in private property. Russia wants it all.
The Russians plan on forcing Americans off their land starting this July.
Russian Empress Ekaterina II sold Alaska to the States. A popular song by Russian band Lube called “Don’t Fool Around, America” from 1989 has the following line: “Ekaterina, you were not right.”
There’s a new popular song in Russia, “We Got Alaska Back!”