Diomede IslandsThis is where Russia and the USA are located at a distance of 4 kilometers from each other
One of the most important and at the same time least known national borders in the world runs between two Diomede Islands: Russia on one side and the USA on the other.
It’s about it
Russia and the US share the Diomede Islands in the Bering Strait.
Although the islands are only four kilometers apart, they are located in completely different time zones.
In 1867, Russia sold Alaska to the United States for a bargain price.
Great powers Russia and the US have been considered enemies since the end of World War II. While the Cold War nearly escalated during the Cuban Missile Crisis, relations between the two nuclear powers briefly eased after the collapse of the Soviet Union. At least since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there is an ice age between Moscow and Washington again. A glance at the world map leads Europeans to assume at first glance that the two countries are thousands of kilometers apart. At the closest point, they are only four kilometers apart. It shows a view of the Diomede Islands, which lie in the Bering Strait.
While on the larger island, which belongs to Russia, it is Monday at 12 noon, on the smaller American island it is Sunday at 3 p.m. Despite the short distance of only four kilometers, the islands are in completely different time zones. Ratmanov Island is the easternmost point of Russia, and Maly Diomedov Island is the westernmost point of the country Alaska.
Probably the worst deal ever
In 1867, Russia sold its overseas colony of Alaska, about 1.6 million square kilometers of land that was difficult to maintain, along with the small island of Diomedes, to the Americans for a ridiculous price: Before that, a lot of money was made in Alaska. hunting sea otters for years. When Alaska was sold, there were almost no animals left to hunt. In addition, the natives, the Tlingit, increasingly resisted Russian colonial power.
The US bought the former tsarist Alaska for $7.2 million, about $130 million today. The deal is often called “Seward’s Folly” today, Seward’s Folly because: A few years later, a huge gold deposit was discovered in northwestern Yukon, which then started the “Klondike Gold Rush.” In 1968, a huge oil deposit was found in Prudhoe Bay, from which the state continues to exploit today.
An ice curtain between two worlds
Alluding to the Iron Curtain in Europe during the Cold War, which divided the Soviet Union on one side and the West on the other, the official spokesman of the then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev referred to the border between Alaska and Russia in 1988 as the “Ice Curtain”. At the time, due to the political situation, the islanders, who often had families on both sides, could not travel back and forth freely. A year earlier, in 1987, the American Lynne Cox swam through the narrow throat between the smaller and larger Diomedes islands to give the “sign of peace”. The swimmer was congratulated on her success by both then heads of state, American President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Gorbachev.
And today too Months after Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the geographical proximity of the two adversaries seems all the more frightening given the political tensions between the West and Russia.
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