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Business News/ News / World/  Has Vladimir Putin declared 1867 sale of Alaska to the US ‘illegal’? All you need to know

Has Vladimir Putin declared 1867 sale of Alaska to the US ‘illegal’? All you need to know

'A viral social media post claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the 1867 sale of Alaska to the United States 'illegal'. The claim originated from an article published by

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Reuters)Premium
Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Reuters)

Amid the ongoing Russia and Ukraine war, a social media post went viral on the internet which claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the 1867 sale of Alaska “illegal". In a post on X (formerly Twitter), a Ukrainian user ‘Igor Sushko’ wrote, “Putin signed an order insinuating the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867 was illegitimate. This mofo is trolling the West and our leaders shake in their boots in response."

“Hahahah - seriously. not kidding: Putin has signed a decree making the sale of Alaska to the US illegal. territory is to be declared occupied," another post on the microblogging site read. 

However, it turned out to be a rumour which originated from an article published by on January 21, 2024, with the title "Putin stokes tensions with the US, declares 1867 sale of Alaska 'illegal.'" 

"Enterprise for Property Management Abroad" of the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation as the recipient of a subsidy for financial support of costs associated with the search of real estate of Russian Federation, the former Russian Empire, the former USSR, the proper registration of the rights of the Russian Federation in relation to the existing federal real estate," the document read. 

Sale of Alaska in 1867

In 1859, Russia offered to sell Alaska to the United States because it thought the United States would counterbalance the intentions of Great Britain, Russia's main Pacific adversary. The sale was postponed due to the impending American Civil War. Still, Secretary of State William Seward promptly accepted a new offer from Russia, according to the US State Department website. 

On March 30, 1867, it accepted Russian Minister in Washington Edouard de Stoeckl's proposal to buy Alaska for $7.2 million. The treaty of purchase was approved by the Senate on April 9, signed by President Andrew Johnson on May 28, and officially incorporated into the United States on October 18, 1867. This acquisition guaranteed US access to the northern rim. 

Alaska was governed by military, naval, or treasury rule, or sometimes no rule at all, for thirty years following its acquisition, during which the United States paid little attention to it. In 1884, the US established a civil government in an attempt to enforce US mining laws, it said. 

Critics dubbed the acquisition of Alaska "Seward's Folly," but when a significant gold deposit was found in the Yukon in 1896, and Alaska served as the entry point to the Klondike gold fields, the former Secretary of State was vindicated. It was not until World War II that Alaska's strategic significance was acknowledged. Alaska was admitted as a state on January 3, 1959.

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Published: 23 Jan 2024, 07:12 AM IST
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