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Russian Espionage in Alaska, has occurred historically in Alaska since the colonial period. Activities in Alaska by various Russian intelligence organizations has persisted through different regimes into the present time. This category includes clandestine operations which were sponsored by the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and the contemporary Russian Federation. Espionage was most active during the final years of the Russian Empire, the Alaskan Wars of the 1930s and the early Cold War. In all three instances the intentions were to effect the public opinion of Alaskans to be friendlier to the Russian State. Other activities have included but are not limited to, money laundering, and the acquisition of classified technology.
In 'Russian America'
All incarnations of Russian States have maintained that no Russian state performed any acts of espionage in Alaska prior to the October Revolution 1917. Prior to that point in time extra judicial actions in Alaska were merely part of Russia's law enforcement on their own territories. Alaskan Representatives vehemently deny the Russian claim as they state that czarist agents were very much involved in the day to day of life of Russian American civilians illegal by any modern standard.
The Alaskan Wars
|“||Your Honor, When I joined as a 'comrade' of the Red Army of the Alaskan Socialist Republic I sincerely believed I was fighting for my country... My Alaskan Country. I soon learned the hard way, however, that Soviet Agents were all around us. For all intents and purposes they still considered us to be part of Russia.||”|
Word of a former ASR soldier in Federal Alaskan Court when questioned about espionage activities, 1945
While the dream of securing of a friendly Communist Russian speaking nation in the Americas may had died with the fall of the Alaskan Socialist Republic a friendly puppet microstate continued to survive in the Catherine Islands. In a sign of clemency, most of the former Socialist soldiers were allowed to return to normal life, those who were committed Communists were interned, and eventually after Stalin's death were deported to the USSR where they were still in an invaluable source of information to the KGB.
|“||Working in counter intelligence was difficult in the Cold War days.. and I mean the real 'Cold War' of the 50s. Many still had families and relatives in the Soviet Union and the NKVD kept reminding them of that. Of course hundreds of potential witnesses became cold to us..||”|
From an interview of an Alaskan Intelligence Officer, 1998
|“||Oh boy! We were so excited when Comrade [REDACTED] told us that we were assigned to Alaska! Good weather.. Good Girls, just a slight accent change and we were everyone's best bud! We all wanted to be 'deployed' there. What a trip! We could get away with anything!||”|
An anonymous KGB agent's memoir, 2006
The overall impact of Russian Espionage on the Alaskan public remains apparent through the present. The legacy of past and present espionage has been a major factor on the political relationship between the two countries. Nationalistic Alaskans have alleged that contemporary Russia still disrespects Alaskan sovereignty and consequently still views Alaska as an outlying territory.
This hypothesis, however, has not been proven and continues to be held in ridicule by mainstream politicians and academics. Nonetheless, both governments have acknowledged historic espionage efforts. In fact Alaska still in legal technicality has stated that Russia owes Alaska reparations but these are all for actions committed prior to 1991. To an extent contemporary Russia has given some compensation for historic actions but claims that it cannot be held completely responsible for actions that were committed by the Soviet Union as a different regime regardless of its legal inheritance of the Soviet legacy.