Russia suggests considering Alaska residents Russian citizens

Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian government Yuri Trutnev suggested that all those residing in Alaska should be considered Russian citizens. Trutnev's remark came in response to the recent requirement from the US authorities to indicate Japan as the country of origin for those Russian citizens, who were born in the South Kuril islands. According to Trutnev, this is a new word in international law, and Moscow is ready to develop it creatively.

Deputy Prime Minister, special presidential envoy Yuri Trutnev said that residents of Alaska could be perceived as Russian citizens. His statement followed the recent news message, which said that green cards drawing rules for permanent residence in the United States, should indicate that the Russians born in the South Kurils should be called natives of Japan.

Japanese newspaper Hokkaido Shimbun paid attention to this in early December. The requirement saying that the Russian citizens born in the Southern Kurils should be listed as natives of Japan  appeared in the rules for green card drawings in 2018, the newspaper said.

"This is new in international law, but we are ready to develop it creatively. I am ready to discuss this with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that residents of Alaska be perceived as citizens of the Russian Empire," Trutnev told reporters in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

The Governor of the Sakhalin Region Valery Limarenko noted that the residents of the Kuril Islands do not want to be citizens of other states except Russia.

"This has been evidenced multiple times in public opinion polls, where almost 100 percent have expressed themselves quite clearly," the governor said. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry found the requirement to recognize those born in the South Kuril Islands as an endorsement of revanchism.

"Does anyone need more proof of the US being a revisionist power? By the decision of 1945, the Kuril Islands had been ceded to the USSR," representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The territorial dispute between Russia and Japan over the Kuril Islands remains unresolved since the end of World War II. Japan claims the islands of Kunashir, Shikotan, Iturup and Habomai. They became part of the USSR after World War II, but in 1951 the Soviet delegation refused to sign the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which legally established the results of the war with Japan. Therefore, the document contains no provision on the sovereignty of the USSR over the Kuril Islands. The peace treaty between Russia and Japan was never concluded. During the 1950s, Moscow admitted that delivering two islands to Tokyo could be possible provided that Japan signs the peace treaty with the USSSR. Nowadays, the Kremlin firmly believes that Russia's sovereignty over the islands cannot be questioned.

The new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who replaced Shinzo Abe in September, said he would continue the dialogue with Russia to clarify the issue of the affiliation of the four islands."