Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has apparently mocked the hypothetical notion of Russian President Vladimir Putin someday ordering Russia’s military troops to reclaim the American state.
When pressed on this scenario Thursday, the Republican Dunleavy offered a simple response to Russia’s possible ambitions, tweeting out, “To the Russian politicians who believe they can take back Alaska: Good luck.”
The genesis of this discussion might have involved Dunleavy sharing a Washington Examiner article about comments made by Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the Russian State Duma, and a close ally of Putin.
During a parliamentary session on Wednesday, Volodin said: “Let America always remember, there is a part of [Russian] territory: Alaska.”
“So when [U.S. lawmakers] attempt to appropriate our assets abroad, they should be aware that we also have something to claim back,” Volodin said.
Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, has had to deal with the post-attack consequences of the United States and other Western powers levying various sanctions against the Russians, while also publicly supporting Ukraine’s war efforts.
Among the sanctions, the Department of Justice previously stated that $30 billion in Russian oligarchs’ assets have been frozen, along with $300 billion in Russian central bank funds.
Pyotr Tolstoy, deputy speaker of the State Duma, which is Russia’s lower house of Parliament, has also suggested holding a referendum among Alaskans about the possibility of rejoining Russia, according to Newsweek.
To accomplish that takeover feat, however, it might lead to a major military conflict between the U.S. and Russia.
Alaska had been a territory of the Russian empire during the 18th and 19th centuries. But U.S. officials purchased the land in 1867 for $7.2 million.
And in 1959, through the approval of the House and Senate, along with then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Alaska officially became America’s 49th state.