Oleg Matveychev, a member of the Russian Parliament, called for the United States to return Alaska and a settlement in California on Russian state television. The lawmaker outlined a series of demands for the United States and Ukraine “after Ukraine’s demilitarization is completed.” This included additional reparations to cover the economic damage to Russia brought by the West’s economic sanctions.

“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,” said Matveychev.

He also demanded 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.”  

When he was asked if he was pertaining to the historic settlements in Alaska and Fort Ross in California, he replied, “That was my next point. As well as the Antarctic,” the lawmaker said. “We discovered it, so it belongs to us,” Matveychev added.

Upon the news breaking out of this plan by Matveychev, many social media users found the proposal hilarious. It even caught Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy’s attention, to which he replied, “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,” the governor added.

Alaskan Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski also took to Twitter, posting a GIF that said, “That will never, ever, ever happen!”

Matveychev’s outrageous demands are expected to fall on deaf ears as the US and its allies continue to ramp up sanctions on Moscow as it also continues to advance its invasion of Ukraine, which has so far been stalled by logistical challenges and determined Ukrainian forces.

A Quick History Lesson

Alaska was once within the territory of the then-Russian Empire. Its exploration was part of  Czar Peter the Great’s efforts to explore the region, which was deemed rich in resources and was lightly populated at that time. The United States also took an interest in the region as it expanded westward in the 1800s. Soon enough, the two world powers were competing for control of Alaska.

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However, St. Petersburg, the Russian capital at that time, lacked the funds to support any significant population efforts or military presence in the area. In 1867, the US bought the territory from Russia for $7.2 million in what is now called the Russian Treaty. It’s important to note that Russia was the one who put the “For Sale” sign in Alaska’s window in 1859.

The region was initially left virtually untouched for the first few decades after the purchase. However, it is also important to recognize that Inuit and Native Americans lived in Alaska before Russian settlements in the area. Skeptics dubbed the deal “Seward’s Folly,” which was a knock to former Secretary of State William Seward, who was one of the primary proponents of the sale. Seward’s decision was soon vindicated after a major gold deposit in Yukon was discovered in 1896, thus becoming a strategic position for the US during the Second World War.

Orthodox Holy Trinity St. Nicholas Chapel at Fort Ross, Sonoma County, California (Wikimedia Commons). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Russian_chapel_at_Fort_Ross_(2016).jpg
Orthodox Holy Trinity St. Nicholas Chapel at Fort Ross, Sonoma County, California (© Frank Schulenburg / CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

On the other hand, Fort Ross was established in 1812 by the Russian-American Fur Company. Its primary goal at that time was to exploit the rich hunting grounds of California, trade with Spanish California, and serve as an agricultural hub for Russian settlements up in Alaska.

However, the Fort operators soon realized that the nearby agricultural land was scarce and unfertile. Soon after, the Russian company opted to abandon the site as it was a financial liability.

The site fell to American hands after John A. Sutter purchased Fort Ross for $30,000 in 1841. The Russians withdrew from the area in January 1842.

Russian State-owned Propaganda

The list of demands from Russian figures did not end there. In the same TV segment, Matveychev also asked for the dissolution of NATO, saying that ‘the presence of NATO in some countries is getting in our way.”

Next was the extradition of war criminals, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, former President Petro Poroshenko, and Adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs and Anton Gerashchenko. Matveychev also added Grigory Rodchenkov to the list, whose revelations in 2016 uprooted the mass doping scheme of Russian athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Vladimir Solovyov, the host of the program, whose assets in Italy were seized because of the sanctions, called for the execution and even the use of nuclear weapons against “those who took our money.”

“Your choice. Tactical or strategic, take a pick. You took our money, you’re the thieves, our talk is short with you: a bullet to the head,” said the host.

Portrait of Russian anchorman Vladimir Rudol'fovich Solovyov with President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin (Wikimedia Commons). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vladimir_Rudol%27fovich_Solovyov_and_Vladimir_Putin.jpeg
Portrait of Russian anchorman Vladimir Rudol’fovich Solovyov with President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin (Kremlin.ruCC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Another state-owned news show, Vesti Nedeli, aired a segment entitled “Denazification of Ukraine – the new opportunities for growth,” which showed photos of public executions of Nazis at Kyiv’s Independence Square in 1946.

Another Russian TV host also called for the military tribunals to be followed by public executions by hanging for Ukrainian fighters in its cities. A Moscow political scientist also echoed this call for hangings.

“Never let morality prevent you from undertaking correct actions. I understand the importance of a humanitarian component,” she said.

As the propaganda wars between Ukraine and Russia continue, Russia has not let its metaphorical foot off the gas. The laughable demands that Alaska and parts of California be handed over to Russia as war reparations are pretty rich, given that neither country is formally at war with the other, and reparations are something a victor imposes on the loser after it surrenders.

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