Sorry John, you're Ivan now! Top Kremlin official wants Alaskans to be treated as citizens of ‘Russian Empire’ after Kurils spat

8 Dec, 2020 11:56 / Updated 3 years ago

By Jonny Tickle

Russia's leading Far Eastern official has said Alaskans should now be considered citizens of the Russian Empire, after the US changed tack to take Tokyo's side in the battle over the sovereignty of the disputed Kuril Islands.

“This is a very new position in international practice,” Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev, who also performs the role of presidential envoy to the Far East, declared. “I am ready to talk to the Russian Foreign Ministry about recognizing Alaskans as citizens of the Russian Empire.”

Of course, the Russian Empire no longer exists, having been dissolved after the 1917 revolution.

The St. Petersburg-based tsars began their colonization of North America in the 18th century, and in 1799 founded Russian America. The vast majority of the settlements were located in Alaska. On December 16, 1866, Russian Emperor Alexander II sold the country's North American territories, an area of over 1.5 million square kilometers, to the US for $7.2 million in gold. In 1959, the region was made into the State of Alaska.

Also on Sorry Sergey, you’re Shinzo now! US tells 20,000 Russian islanders from disputed Kurils that it considers them to be Japanese

Last week, Japanese newspaper Hokkaido Shimbun reported that Russians born on the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai are considered to be Japanese by the US immigration authorities. The islands have been controlled by Moscow since 1945, and in 1951 the peace treaty signed by Japan and the allies declared that Tokyo must give up its claims. However, the dispute is still ongoing.

On Sunday, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the US’ support for Japan’s position “proof that the US is a revisionist power.”

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