Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Window on Eurasia: Kurgan Activists Want Alaska Returned to Russia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 23 – Two Russian activists in Kurgan have filed an appeal to the Russian Supreme Court asking it to declare sale of Alaska to the United States invalid and to demand that Washington return that territory to the Russian Federation, according to a report in a Kurgan’s “Znak” newspaper.

            Valery Rogov and Yury Konyev, leaders of the Kurgan branch of the Russian All-Peoples Union, argue that Tsar Aleksandr II’s sale of Alaska to the US in 1867 is in fact null and void because it was never approved by the true source of sovereignty in the Russian Federation – its “multi-national people” (

            In its report on this January 18th appeal to the Supreme Court, “Znak” provides a photograph of the document, acknowledging that Rogov and Konyev have in fact dispatched copies of it to Moscow.  But the paper drily notes that “the further fate [of this document] is still unknown.”

            Complaints about the Russian sale of Alaska to the United States have often surfaced among Russian nationalist activists who complain as do Rogov and Konyev that it was arranged in secret out of public view and that Russia got far too little for this valuable piece of real estate – 7.2 million US dollars then which would amount to 250 million US dollars now.

            But what is interesting about this latest effort is the constitutional theory Rogov and Konyev advance: that the sale by the imperial authorities is invalid because it contradicts the popular sovereignty of the Russian Federation, even though that country did not come into existence until 124 years later.

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