White House: Sorry, Putin, Alaska Isn't Up for Grabs

Decree signed by Russian president on going after property overseas spurs speculation on 49th state
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2024 10:50 AM CST
White House: Putin's Not Getting Alaska Back
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen at the Kremlin in Moscow on Tuesday.   (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

It's clear that Vladimir Putin has his sights set on absorbing Ukraine back into Russia's fold, but he may also be eyeing a prime piece of property in the US: Alaska. Last week, the Tass news agency reported the Russian president signed a decree that will dole out funds for research and registration of "real estate property owned by the Russian Federation, the former Russian Empire, the former USSR" abroad, seeking "legal protection" of whatever property under that umbrella might be found. No specific plots of land were mentioned, but the Hill notes that after the announcement of the decree, military experts online started speculating that Putin was thinking about going after the 49th state, which was sold by Russia to the United States in 1867.

The Institute for the Study of War noted last week that one military blogger posted on Telegram that Putin could seek to take back not only Alaska, but also sections of Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe, among other regions. "The exact parameters of what constitutes current or historical Russian property are unclear," the nonprofit noted. If making a grab for Alaska actually is Putin's master plan, it's one that the US State Department is scoffing at. "I speak for all of us in the US government to say that certainly he's not getting it back," State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said during a Monday presser. (More Alaska stories.)

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