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Putin's "cold" Alaska joke

18 April 2014 [13:20] - TODAY.AZ
In a patriotic fervour, Russians are asking President Vladimir Putin to bring back the US state of Alaska, sold off to the United States in Tsarist times. Putin's answer? It's too cold.

During Putin's annual marathon phone-in session Thursday, when Russians pose questions to the Russian leader, a pensioner asked him to possibly follow the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine with the taking of Alaska.

"Faina Ivanovna, dear, why do you need Alaska?" Putin asked the pensioner.

"We have a northern country -- 70 percent of our territory are in the north and the far north," he noted.

"Alaska is cold too," he said. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves."

Alaska was settled by Russians since the 18th century after Russian boats reached it from the Russian Far East territories of Kamchatka and began fur trading with the indigenous population.

Since its purchase by the United States in 1867, people in some small Alaskan villages still use random Russian words and there is even a Russian Orthodox seminary.

Media in Anchorage said this week that Russian state television had contacted a local journalist to film Alaskans asking Putin questions to include in the phone-in programme.

The Russian channel reportedly cancelled their request later, the journalist, Dorene Lorenz, told the local website Alaska Dispatch.

She still had posted a question on her Facebook page: "If you had one question that you coul ask Putin, what would it be?"

Nobody asked Putin if he could annex Alaska, however. One question was "How long before World War III?"

"What is your favourite vodka?" another said.

A petition posted on the White House website in March asking to give Alaska back to Russia had gathered over 42,000 signatures by Thursday.



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