Sarah Palin may be able to see Russia from her house, but she may soon regret that proximity if one Putin ally and an unnamed "patriot" have their way. Newsweek reports that multiple billboards popped up in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on Thursday, all bearing the same message in Cyrillic: "Alaska Is Ours!" The signage emerged just a day after State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, said to be slavishly devoted to the Russian president, advanced the idea that his country could snatch back the 49th state from the US due to US sanctions over the war in Ukraine.
"Let America always remember: There's a piece of territory, Alaska," he noted of the state that the US bought from Russia in 1867. "When they try to manage our resources abroad, let them think before they act that we, too, have something to take back." Another State Duma official jumped into the conversation by suggesting a "referendum" in which Alaskans could vote on joining Russia. Newsweek notes, however, that the billboards "do not appear to have been placed by the Russian government." One local told NGS24 that "some patriot" ordered the signage, and after some digging, the site traced the logo on the signs to a trailer factory named Alyaska.
The company verified it was behind the billboards, with one worker noting, "It's just that our director is very patriotic." Not everyone is sharing that patriotic sentiment, however. "They've gone totally mad," one Russian media watcher proclaimed on Twitter. "Tell him that he was wrong," another commenter noted of the supposed "patriot." The news also prompted Alaskan Gov. Mike Dunleavy to weigh in. "To the Russian politicians who believe they can take back Alaska: Good luck," he tweeted Thursday. (Read more Russia stories.)