Over 22,000 people have signed a petition calling for the secession of Alaska from the United States to seek reunification with Russia.
The petition, available on the White House website, opened on March 21. If the motion attracts 100,000 signatures within a month, the Obama administration is obliged to respond according to its guidelines.
The petition, entitled “Alaska Back to Russia,” encourages a vote on secession, citing historic travels of Russian explorers to Alaska, as far back as the crossing of native Siberians across the Bering land bridge over 10 thousand years ago.
The document tracks the settlement of the region by Russians, including Aleuts colonizing the Aleutian Archipelago, and the expedition of famed explorer Mikhail Gvozdez who first sited Alaska in 1732.
Alaska was a Russian colony until 1867 when Russian Emperor Alexander II sold it to the US for $7.2 million -$120 million in today’s money after being adjusted for inflation.
In November 2012, a similar petition sought Texas’ withdrawal from the US following the state’s dissatisfaction with federal economic policy.
Signatories of that petition called for Texas to declare independence in order to maintain a balanced budget and “to protect its citizens’ standard of living.”
Similar motions were filed by residents of several other American states, including Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Georgia.
Yet only Texas garnered enough signatures – over 125,000 – to be reviewed by the Obama administration, which turned the petition down saying that while “no one disputes that our country faces big challenges,” Americans needed to work together “to find the best way to move forward.”
Despite the value of healthy debate, “we don’t let that debate tear us apart,” the White House said.
The petition is strangely worded and full of grammar problems, but that hasn’t stopped it from getting more than 28,000 signatures since it was created on March 21.
Titled “Alaska back to Russia.” it reads:
“Groups Siberian russians crossed the Isthmus (now the Bering Strait) 16-10 thousand years ago.
“Russian began to settle on the Arctic coast, Aleuts inhabited the Aleutian Archipelago.
“First visited Alaska August 21, 1732, members of the team boat “St. Gabriel »under the surveyor Gvozdev and assistant navigator I. Fedorov during the expedition Shestakov and DI Pavlutski 1729-1735 years
“Vote for secession of Alaska from the United States and joining Russia”
The creator of the petition is known only as “S. V.” of Anchorage, Alaska.
US President Barack Obama must have known that his support of gay marriage would bring him trouble. But of all possible repercussions, a demand to roll back Alaska’s 1867 sale to the United States was one he was unlikely to have seen coming.
And yet that was the very claim that an ultraconservative religious group made in a Moscow arbitrage court, citing the need to protect fellow Christians from sin.
Obama’s alleged plans to legalize the “so-called same-sex marriage” threaten the freedom of religion of Alaska’s Orthodox Christians, who “would never accept sin for normal behavior,” the nongovernmental group Pchyolki (“Bees”) said.
“We see it as our duty to protect their right to freely practice their religion, which allows no tolerance to sin,” the group said in a statement on their website.
The Pchyolki also cited technical violations of the terms of the 1867 deal that saw Russia sell Alaska to the US government for $7.2 million, or 2 cents per acre. Payment was made by check and not golden coin as specified in the contract, the group said.
The lawsuit, filed in January but not reported by media until this week, was not processed because the Pchyolki failed to include a handful of mandatory papers, including documents to justify their claims, according to Moscow arbitrage court’s website. The group had until last week to provide the required paperwork, but failed to do so for reasons left unspecified.
Among the papers the group failed to file was also a notification to the defendant, the US government, which may account for it not having commented on the lawsuit so far.
The Pchyolki are a relatively obscure group created in 2008 to protect orphans’ rights in Russia, which it did by campaigning against sexual education in schools, among other things.