The world is sitting on the edge of its seat, figuratively speaking: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, Russia’s president, is ecstatic over his success is retaking Crimea from Ukraine that some are now thinking he plans to start a move to reclaim Alaska from the United States.
Because the then tsars of the Russian Empire were fearful that they would lose the roughly 586,000 square miles of what was then known as “Russian America” to England in the event of a war with that country, they decided that it was best to convert the territory into cold cash. And so Russia concluded the sale of what is now known as Alaska to the U. S. in 1867 for the now paltry sum $7.2 million in gold. The rest is history: Alaska became the 49th state of the union on January 3, 1959.
At the time of its sale, the Russian Empire was not totally aware of the value of Alaska, strategically and economically – today Vladimir Putin is. And although it is very unlikely that Putin will actually play out the demand for Alaska’s return to Russia, he is nevertheless capable of having such an eerie thought.