On Sunday, a Russian lawmaker demanded that the U.S. return Alaska along with an historic Russian settlement in California as part of reparations to help pay for the economic damage that American sanctions are having on Russia’s economy in the wake of its Ukraine invasion.
The stipulations come from a man named Oleg Matveychev, a member of the Duma, or lower house of the Russian federal government. He is well known as a political consultant and spin doctor for the Kremlin, and is currently a professor at the state-run Financial University in Moscow. He also happens to be one of Russia’s most popular bloggers.
Speaking on Russian state-run television, Matveychev listed a long string of reparations, according to the Express newspaper in the United Kingdom.
Included in the Matveychev’s demands is a return of Alaska, which the U.S. bought from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million.
Fox News picked up the story on March 15.
The purchase of Alaska was coined “Seward’s Folly,” after U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signed a treaty with Russia for the bargain purchase of two cents an acre.
Many saw the Alaska purchase as pointless, but Seward was keen to acquire the massive territory, about one-fifth the size of the rest of the United States.
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In the decades following the purchase, Seward’s instincts proved profitable for the U.S. with the discovery of gold, timber, other natural resources and eventually oil.
In addition to demanding that America return Alaska, Matveychev said he also wants the historic Russian settlement of Fort Ross, in northern California, back in Russian hands.
“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 stated during his March 13 interview on state television.
Matveychev’s demands include the Antarctic as well, which he claims Russia discovered and therefore owns.
The U.S. doesn’t appear to be taking the Russian politician’s demands very seriously. On Monday a new round of sanctions on Russian officials was announced.