Russian Demands For Alaska Not Taken Seriously


Adyan Al-Shamri, Staff Writer

In the world of real estate, it’s suddenly in high demand.

Alaska–home to over 700,000 people–seems to be attracting some attention in recent weeks from its neighbor to the west: Russia. In mid-March, Oleg Matveyhev, a Russian parliament member, declared that the U.S. should return Alaska to Russia. The demand was made on a national broadcast in Russia. Matveyhev is demanding that, once Russia demilitarizes Ukraine, the U.S. must return Alaska as “reparations.” 

Many find this demand to be a big joke, due to the fact the U.S. had purchased Alaska–with Russia being glad to get rid of the “wasteland”–in 1867. “This demand  is a ridiculous suggestion,” asserts EHS social studies teacher Mr. Brandon Miller. “We bought Alaska off of Russia because Russia was scared of the English Empire and perceived the U.S. as less of a threat.” Continuing, Miller adds, “We didn’t take Alaska by force!”

Others suspect that there is more to this than what meets the eye. “I think it’s a way for Russia to make an excuse to cause a problem between the U.S., especially with the current events in Russia and Ukraine,” junior Carissa Akens states. She views it as a ridiculous demand, considering the U.S. legally purchased the land and Russia agreed, willingly taking the $7.2 million in exchange. “In what way is it reasonable for us to re-pay Russia? For what reason?” Akens continues. 

As the world has their focus on Russia and Ukraine, it seems to be strange to involve a U.S. state, such as Alaska. However, with the U.S.’s past involvement in Russian affairs, it might not be far- fetched that the U.S. would be involved now more so than ever. With only a 55-mile gap between Alaska and Russia at the narrowest point, Russia appears to be sending a warning message to the U.S. about expanding its empire. Still, Miller struggles to find a perfectly explainable reason for this sudden demand. “I am sure [Matveyhev] is trying to make some analogy to Ukraine, comparing Alaska to the current situation Putin put Russia in.” He continues. “There is just nothing credible in any comparison to the two locations–none in the least.”

In the end, to most in the world, this seems like an obscene demand that will likely have no follow up. To many, it just seems like a strange bump in the road. “It is a ridiculous demand, and I don’t see anything happening,” Aken states, shrugging it off.

The U.S. government is also shrugging it off, showing no signs of taking this demand seriously by giving up Alaska. Highlighting that fact, citizens across America even joke about other places Russia could have instead. “They can have Missouri!” Miller teasingly exclaims. “Please take that state!” Akens also voices her humorous pick. “I suggest Delaware. The U.S. wouldn’t miss it!” Funny that neither mentioned Indiana!

Russia now has two alternative picks, just not Alaska.  However, if Russia truly does try to take any American soil, there will be a price to pay for it.