Analysis of the News “Analyst: After Crimea and Donbas, Russia can take back Alaska – USA will be torn apart”

April 2023

As part of the Regional Initiative in Combating Disinformation “Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: Exposing Malign Influences through Watchdog Journalism”, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

Analyst: After Crimea and Donbas, Russia can take back Alaska – USA will be torn apart

During this week, the big global news was that Finland became a member of NATO, and the Russian Federation announced the deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus, while at the regional level, the most attention was given to the presidential elections in Montenegro and the departure of Milo Djukanovic from power. As for Serbia, the turbulent process of normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina is still in focus.

Along with the large number of texts coming from the East that deal with the usual narratives such as the imminent economic and political collapse of the West as well as Russia’s inevitable victory in Ukraine and the creation of a new world order led by Russia and China, there is also an increasing use of Western sources that confirm these theses. Among them, an article published on the pro-Russian portal Webtribune stood out.

The portal uses the analysis of the Italian publication “Osservatorio Globalizzazione” written by Emanuel Pietrobon. He reminds that Russia’s main goal is to eliminate any NATO threat on its borders, and that’s why Alaska is an important region for Russians. According to this journalist, this addition of the US on the eastern borders of Russia represents one of the most serious (if not the most serious) threat to Russia.”

“And guess what? After Crimea and Donbas, Alaska has a good chance of being returned to its former owner, with Hawaii as a bonus,” writes Pietrobon. He indicates that if NATO loses the war, then it is “almost certain” that the USA will be “broken into several autonomous or even independent states”.

The text reminds us of the historic agreement between Russia and the US over Alaska, “which forever changed the course of history at the expense of Russia, and in favor of the United States”. “The region opened the Americans’ access to the Arctic and provided the US with geopolitical advantages. In addition to that, America’s border has expanded considerably to the Russian border.”

There is no specific disinformation in the text, it presents a translated opinion of the columnist of this Italian media. However, author, in Italian in the text referenced by Webtribune, writes about the lessons that should be learned from the negotiations between Russian Empire and the United States over Alaska. He also gives his point of view on alternative history or “what ifs”. So it is written that if Imperial Russia had kept control of Hawaii, and had not given up Alaska, the entire course of history would have followed a different direction.

However, specific disinformation can be seen in the title of the article published by Webtribune, because the Italian journalist nowhere in the text states that after “Crimea and Donbas”, Russia will also “return” Alaska.

The pro-Russian portal Webtribune used the Italian analyst’s “illustrative” predictions in in the text as if they were facts. According to parts of the text translated by Webtribune, it is suggested that the US is afraid of a Russian seizure of Alaska, which will lead to the gradual disintegration of the US.

What is not mentioned in the text is that the US has a strong military presence in Alaska, including the existence of several military bases. Additionally, the US Navy and Coast Guard have a presence in the surrounding waters, making it difficult for any foreign military to approach. Besides, as much as Russia had some territorial claims regarding Alaska in the past, even the current authorities in Russia do not mention this possibility, given the numerous military, diplomatic and geographical obstacles.

Author: Sofija Popović