It’s time for Russia to return someone else’s. Where Zelensky is right
Those lands for the capture of which she was expelled from decent society are not hers and will never be recognized as her possession.
On October 6/18, 1867, the Russian flag with all the appropriate ceremonies was lowered at Sitka. Alaska passed from Russia to the United States. A huge territory, with an area of more than one and a half million square kilometers, was sold for 7 million 200 thousand gold dollars , which then amounted to 11 million 362 thousand 482 rubles in silver. Until now, many people in Russia sigh and regret the sale of Alaska. But this huge province with a very small population – 2,500 Russians and about 60 thousand Indians and Aleuts has become a prosperous and wealthy state of the United States over a century and a half. Its residents did not suffer any damage from the sale. But the people of Russia have received tremendous benefits. But this is rarely remembered.
Russia, having suffered defeat in the Crimean War, had completely disorganized finances, and it was necessary to buy land from the landlords in order to make the peasants liberated in 1861 real owners. The money to buy the land was sorely lacking. Yes, the government gave money to the peasants for the purchase of land in debt, but it was in debt for 49 years, and the peasants had to buy the land from the landowners immediately. In total, more than 800 million rubles were spent on the ransom ( two gold reserves of Russia at that time), but just in 1861−71. the redemption operation was the most active. The peasants should have been taught that they are the owners of the land, responsible citizens, and for this they needed money, money, and more money.
In addition, the owner becomes independent if he can receive income from his property, and for this the peasant must be able to profitably sell what he has created. There were almost no railways in Russia. How to export grain, flax to large cities and seaports – Odessa, Taganrog, Vindava? And the construction of railways also requires a lot of money. Russian Finance Minister Reitern presented to Emperor Alexander II a financial plan of expenditures for the coming years. There were terrible holes in it. Stop buying land and building roads. And then Grand Duke Constantine offered to sell Alaska. Thoughts about selling Alaska as a loss-making territory have been hovering before ( every year Alaska ate 200 thousand rubles in silver from state funds), but then they had mainly geostrategic reasons. Now the main argument was the transformation of the liberated farmers into an economically active and wealthy stratum of society.
And Alaska was sold. The money went to purchase the necessary supplies for the construction of several railways in the European part of Russia. The money of the treasury could now be used not for railway construction, but for the redemption of land from the landowners for transferring it to the peasants.
It was a great decision. The empire went on to belittle its space for the sake of freedom and well-being of its citizens, the majority of its citizens.
And now we are facing the same problem. However, this time we are not talking about lands that the whole world considers Russian. We are talking about the lands ” squeezed out”, boorishly seized – Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Crimea, the eastern part of Donbass. Nobody recognizes them as independent or Russian, except for Russia itself. But precisely because of the “ squeezing out” of these lands, precisely because of the violation of the principle of the Helsinki Declaration on the inviolability of borders in Europe, Russia has gradually become an outcast of the world community over the past decade. She was subjected to severe sanctions, she was expelled from the community of decent and highly developed democratic powers, she lost profitable investments and prospects for economic development.
Having lost allied relations with developed democratic countries, Russia was forced to seek friendship of the most odious regimes – the Chinese and Iranian, which could bring Russia neither freedom nor prosperity. After all, these regimes themselves do not have what Russia needs. Both China and Iran are using Russia to their advantage. But only. With whom you lead, from that you will gain. Russia, having broken with the West, lost its rapid economic development, democracy and freedom, and by fraternizing with China and Iran found tyranny and stagnation.
In order to return to Russia the friendship of developed states, recognition of the world community, in order to open the way to the European Union and NATO, it needs to free itself from these unjustly captured, occupied and, most importantly, completely unnecessary territories. The EU and NATO will take care of their citizens. Why take on and carry this burden?
The thesis: “Where the Russian flag has once been raised, there it should not be lowered,” is stupid. All powers lowered their flags – and Russia in Alaska, the United States in the Philippines and in the Panama Canal Zone, and Britain throughout its former empire, and France, and Japan …
But one must be able to do it with dignity. Most of the UN Security Council countries have just called on Russia to withdraw from Abkhazia and South Ossetia: “Today we again call on Russia to fully fulfill its obligations: immediately withdraw its troops and revoke its recognition of the so-called independence of the territories of Georgia, and not hinder the creation of an international security mechanism,” – said in a statement on August 4, which was signed by the United States, Great Britain, France, Estonia, Albania, Ireland and Norway.
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has just suggested that all those residents of Donbass and Crimea who want to live in Russia move to Russia , since the borders of Ukraine are recognized by the entire world community and the integrity of its territory will still be restored.
And these are the right calls. The current rulers of Russia, instead of manic clinging to someone else’s land, should take the example of historical Russia, which did not spare the uncontested Russian Alaska for the welfare of its citizens. Then Alexander II did not sacrifice the people he had freed to geopolitical madness, but by belittling the empire’s space, he helped its citizens become freer and richer.
Russia must do the same now, especially since the lands for the capture of which it was expelled from a decent society are not hers and will never be recognized as her possession. And hope is not worth it. Wrong time. For the good of our people, we must return someone else’s. Only a madman can doubt the rationality of such a step.