The people of this Bering Strait region still see themselves as one people and the border as an irritant. It was first drawn up in 1867 when America bought Alaska from a cash-strapped Tsarist Russia. But no-one took much notice then. Families lived on both islands and criss-crossed back and forth until 1948 when the border was suddenly closed. The Soviet military moved on to Big Diomede and the civilians were forcibly resettled on the Siberian mainland.
Over the years [since the Cold War ended], hopes continued that the more entwined relationship between the Russia and the West would loosen up the border. But they have been dashed by the Ukraine crisis and by Russia’s military build-up.
Previously from AFD:
Also recently in the news:
The Atlantic: “In Alaska, Climate Change Threatens to Sweep Away the [Native] Village of Newtok” – A longform piece on this devastating trendline for Alaska Natives:
A 2003 report from the Government Accountability Office found that most of Alaska’s 200-plus native villages are affected by erosion and flooding, and that four were in “imminent danger.” By 2009, the GAO said 31 villages were in imminent danger.