A Russian member of parliament who often speaks on behalf of the Kremlin is demanding the return of Alaska and an area of California that once represented Russia’s southernmost outpost in North America in a fit of lunacy on a national TV program.
The demand comes in the wake of punishing economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and many of its Western allies in response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which has resulted in thousands of deaths including soldiers and civilians.
It also comes after Putin’s regime flooded Russian airwaves on state-run channels with all sorts of pro-war propaganda, which is designed to portray a vastly different picture to the Russian people of the horror being inflicted on the Ukrainian people, many of whom are ethnic Russian, as first reported by The Daily Beast.
In particular, the Russian MP, Duma member Oleg Matveychev, who is Putin’s “spin doctor,” is demanding the return of Alaska, and Fort Ross, Calif., which were part of the Russian empire in the 18th and 19th centuries before the territories were sold to the U.S.
“In 1867, then-Secretary of State William H. Seward oversaw the purchase of Alaska from Russia’s ruler Tsar Alexander II, the Emperor of the Russian Empire, King of Poland, and Grand Duke of Finland, for $7.2 million. Today, according to an inflation calculator, that would be roughly $138 million,” USA Features News reported.
In addition, Russian TV hosts and pundits have endorsed the notion of publicly hanging Ukrainian officials who defy Moscow, an idea that the Kremlin has reportedly considered, according to reports cited by the UK’s Daily Mail.
“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 an appearance on the program Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyov.
“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,” he continued.
The host, Solovyov, asked the Duma member if he was talking specifically about Alaska and Fort Ross.
“That was my next point. As well as the Antarctic,” he responded, adding: “We discovered it, so it belongs to us.’
The first Russian colony on Alaska was founded in 1784, named Three Saints Bay. There began the Russian-American Company, a trading monopoly chartered by Czar Paul I in 1799 which drove the Empire’s expansion in North America.
The Russian-American company built Fort Ross, less than three hours outside of modern-day San Francisco, in 1812. The settlement was sold into private hands in 1841.
Alaska’s GOP governor, Mike Dunleavy, laughed off Matveychev’s suggestion.
“Good luck with that! Not if we have something to say about it,” Dunleavy wrote on Twitter. “We have hundreds of thousands of armed Alaskans and military members that will see it differently.”
Good luck with that! Not if we have something to say about it. We have hundreds of thousands of armed Alaskans and military members that will see it differently. https://t.co/ji0Hiza1TE
— Governor Mike Dunleavy (@GovDunleavy) March 15, 2022
In his interview, Matveychev also appeared to dismiss the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
“What for? We can take them down without it,” he said in response to the question.
But Solovyov, who recently had two villas in Italy seized as part of U.S.-led Western sanctions on Russian officials and oligarchs, called for public hangings and using nuclear weapons against “those who took our money.”
“I still think that those who took our money should be told, you have 24 hours to unfreeze our funds, or else we’ll send you what you know we’ve got,” he said.
If the West does not stand up militarily to Putin at some point, he will simply continue his quest to reconstitute the former Soviet Union.