The mayor of Yakutsk claims he has a proof a small island off the coast of Alaska had been given to the Russian Orthodox Church and it still has the rights to the territory.
Mayor Aysen Nikolayev and other officials from Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District have petitioned President Vladimir Putin, the heads of both chambers of the Russian Parliament, and the Russian Foreign Minister requesting the return of Spruce Island to the church.
Researchers from Yakutsk went to the Alaskan capital Juneau to study the archive belonging to the Russian bibliographer Mikhail Vinokurov who emigrated to the USA in 1917 after the Bolshevik revolution. They discovered a certificate issued by Russian government commissioner Captain Second Rank Aleksey Peshchurov, detailing the transfer of Russian territories in Alaska to the United States. According to this document, Spruce Island has been granted to the Russian Orthodox Church ‘for eternity’.
Spruce Island was known as the New Valaam after Valaam Island in North Russia that is home to one of the oldest and most respected Orthodox monasteries. In early XIX century it was also the home of St Herman of Alaska- a Russian Orthodox saint and a missionary to the “Russian America” – the territories in Alaska and California colonized by Russians.