Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Russia sells Alaska to US, do we have to give it back? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Russia sells Alaska to US, do we have to give it back?
Category: Reference, Education and News > Teaching and Research
Asked by: orsonstarbuck-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 24 Sep 2005 00:14 PDT
Expires: 24 Oct 2005 00:14 PDT
Question ID: 571936
My friend, a Latvian lady in a conversation we were having, said that
the treaty or agreement between the US and Russia that sold Alaska was
not really a transfer of ownership. She said that it was like a lease
( think Hong Kong ) and the US, according to this agreement had to
give back Alaska after a certain amount of time. Is my friend correct?
Subject: Re: Russia sells Alaska to US, do we have to give it back?
Answered By: answerfinder-ga on 24 Sep 2005 04:53 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear orsonstarbuck-ga,

The answer is no. It was sold without any time restrictions. It has
been an urban myth in the Russia that there is a claim on Alaska
because following the 1917 Russian Revolution the communist government
renounced all previous laws and treaties of the czarist government.

You can read the terms of the treaty here (Congress archives). You
will note there is no reference to leasing the territory or any dates.

From Wikipedia -
?In modern Russia and even in its predecessor, the Soviet Union, there
has been speculation in the mass media that Alaska was not, in fact,
sold, but was instead leased to the U.S. for 99 or 150 years and has
to be returned to Russia. It may be explained in part by the notion
that soon after the 1917 revolution in Russia all the secret tsarist
international agreements were officially denounced and declared void
by the new government.?

You can read a general introduction to the Alaska Purchase on Wikipedia.

The Library of Congress has detailed information on the treaty.

You may be interested in this Pravda news report

I hope this answers your question. If it does not, or the answer is
unclear, then please ask for clarification of this research before
rating the answer. I shall respond to the clarification request as
soon as I receive it.
Thank you

Search strategy
alaska russia sold leased
orsonstarbuck-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Perfect!!! That conversation with my friend has been nagging at me for
2 years. The answer was more than I hoped for!

Subject: Re: Russia sells Alaska to US, do we have to give it back?
From: myoarin-ga on 24 Sep 2005 09:50 PDT
Here is a modern Russian site that assumes/admits that the "Convention
of 1867" was final:

There was an earlier agreement between Russia and USA that was limited
to 20 years which may also have been a source of confusion.
Subject: Re: Russia sells Alaska to US, do we have to give it back?
From: answerfinder-ga on 24 Sep 2005 10:07 PDT
Dear orsonstarbuck-ga,
Thank you for your generous tip. Pleased I could help.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy