A Russian member of Parliament known to speak on behalf of the Kremlin made a bizarre claim on a late-night TV program that his country still has a valid claim to the state of Alaska.
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.
While the transaction was legitimate and mutual, Parliament member Oleg Matveychev dropped the idea of reclaiming Alaska during an appearance on Russian state TV, according to the Daily Mail.
Matveychev called for “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.”
The show’s host went on to ask if he specifically meant Alaska and the former Russian settlement of Fort Ross, California.
“That was my next point. As well as the Antarctic,” Matveychev said. “We discovered it, so it belongs to us.”
Fort Ross is “a small area in Sonoma County that was at one point the Russian Empire’s southernmost outpost in North America and was sold off in 1841,” the New York Post reported.
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
The Russian parliamentarian went further, however.
“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,” he said.
Making another wild claim, he also said he wants “the return of all medals that have been unlawfully taken from our sportsmen during all Olympic games,” according to the Daily Beast.