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‘Isle be back!’ Siberian mayor seeks return of ‘Holy island’ from USA

Published time: March 26, 2014 10:55
Valdez, Alaska (AFP Photo)

Valdez, Alaska (AFP Photo)

The mayor of Yakutsk claims he has a proof a small island off the coast of Alaska had been given to the Russian Orthodox Church and it still has the rights to the territory.

Mayor Aysen Nikolayev and other officials from Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District have petitioned President Vladimir Putin, the heads of both chambers of the Russian Parliament, and the Russian Foreign Minister requesting the return of Spruce Island to the church.

Researchers from Yakutsk went to the Alaskan capital Juneau to study the archive belonging to the Russian bibliographer Mikhail Vinokurov who emigrated to the USA in 1917 after the Bolshevik revolution. They discovered a certificate issued by Russian government commissioner Captain Second Rank Aleksey Peshchurov, detailing the transfer of Russian territories in Alaska to the United States. According to this document, Spruce Island has been granted to the Russian Orthodox Church ‘for eternity’.

Spruce Island was known as the New Valaam after Valaam Island in North Russia that is home to one of the oldest and most respected Orthodox monasteries. In early XIX century it was also the home of St Herman of Alaska- a Russian Orthodox saint and a missionary to the “Russian America” – the territories in Alaska and California colonized by Russians.

2014 we will mark the 220th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church mission to North America and this is a perfect time to pay attention to the Russian America. I stand for the restoration of historical justice – the return of Spruce Island to its lawful owner – the Russian Orthodox Church,” Mayor Aysen Nikolayev told the Izvestia daily.

A senior church official in charge of relations with the society, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin only gave a reserved comment, saying that the discovered papers must be thoroughly studied in order to assess the perspective of the claims in the modern environment.

In 1867 the Russian Empire sold Alaska and the surrounding islands to the United States for $7.2 million in gold that the Tsar needed for financing the reforms caused by the abolition of serfdom. The 46-square-kilometer Spruce Island is a part of the Kodiak Archipelago, South of Alaska. Currently about 250 people live on the island.

Comments (115)


Kunta Kinte 14.04.2014 01:09

I do not know how whole transfer of Alaska was legal under Monroe doctrine that Europeans can not have teritories in North America. How comes, England STILL owns 50% of North America!? Fault was of weak or debilitated Russian Czar who did not have naval power to defend Russian lands in Alaska and California. Or Russian noblemen needed quick money to continue gambling in casinos of Monaco, Monte Carlo etc. Same case was with Spain and France. All three lost everything.


Robert Miller 10.04.2014 14:55

To Americans who don't know any Russian history or about 97% of us. It's America that has been robbed. Before 1913 our total money supply was backed by silver in circulation. In 1977 even the Silver money was taken out of circulation because there was too much paper money. Now every dollar in circulation is an instrument of debt rather than wealth.
On 9/11 the National debt was about $4 Trillion. Currently it's about $17. 5 Trillion. That's enough to buy the entire world's gold reserves at least twice.
There is nothing more expensive that fighting a war, and the United States has been at war now for 13 years.


Robert Miller 10.04.2014 14:32

The United States did legally pay for Alaska, but Russia never got the gold. The ship carrying it sank on it's way to St. Petersburg. It was found recently and excavated off the coast of Norway or Finland. However there was no gold on the ship. It seems somebody switched the gold between the Bank of England and the Ship. Later a former Confederate secret agent was convicted for letting the bottoms of boats and claiming insurance money for lost cargo. His first scam was the same ship with the Russian gold. The question is who hired this guy to sink the ship, and who got the gold?

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