Fabricated Video in the Name of the US Media about the Alleged Referendum in Alaska to Join Russia

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Reading Time: 5 minutes


On November 3-4th, Georgian and Russian-language (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) Facebook accounts and websites (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) have been disseminating the information that on November 4th, the US state of Alaska is holding a referendum on joining Russia. The English-language video published by the Facebook accounts asserts that Alaska is historically a territory of Russia, and according to polls, 65-70% of the population living there are in favour of joining Russia. According to the video, the place of holding the referendum is the Russian Orthodox St. Nicholas Church in Nikolaevsk.

The posts name US media as the source of information, and the logo of the media organization operating in Alaska – Alaska Public Media – is placed in the introduction of the video.

The claim that a referendum to join Russia is being held in the state of Alaska is disinformation, and the published posts contain elements of video manipulation. The video uses the logo of Alaska Public Media, although the media organization did not publish any video of this kind. In fact, its original source is a Russian Telegram channel. On November 8th, Alaska, like other US states, is holding US midterm elections, which entail the election of representatives to the US Congress and have nothing to do with the referendum or the alliance with Russia.

The video distributed in the name of Alaska Public Media, as if a referendum to join Russia is being held in Alaska, has not been published on the website, YouTube channel or Facebook page of Alaska Public Media. In order to verify the information, “Myth Detector” contacted Alaska Public Media, who confirmed that they did not publish the video and the logo of the media outlet was being misused.

In addition, the video states that according to polls, 65-70% of the population of Alaska is in favour of joining Russia. This opinion poll cannot be found in open sources. In addition, no information can be found regarding the holding of a referendum in the Russian Orthodox Church named after St. Nicholas either.  The last post on the Facebook page of the church is about a meeting with candidates for the American midterm elections.

Screenshot 14 1 Fabricated Video in the Name of the US Media about the Alleged Referendum in Alaska to Join Russia

The only election held in Alaska is the 2022 US midterm elections, which along with all other states, is held on November 8th, not November 4th. On November 8th, Alaskans elect representatives to the US House and Senate, as well as to the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor and the state legislature.

The video used as the source of information is composed of general shots. Its first shot is an “intro” of Alaska Public Media, featuring the logo and slogan of the media. This video cannot be found on Alaska Public Media platforms. In correspondence with “Myth Detector,” the media organization confirmed the same. It should be noted that the videos published on Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel feature the logo of the media outlet not only in the introductory part but also in the lower right corner throughout the video. In contrast, the video on the Alaskan referendum no longer features the logo after the introduction.

Screenshot 15 1 Fabricated Video in the Name of the US Media about the Alleged Referendum in Alaska to Join Russia

The active distribution of a fabricated video prepared for about the alleged holding of a referendum in the state of Alaska began on November 3rd and became even more active on November 4th. The earliest published video was traced by “Myth Detector” to the Russian-language Telegram channel called СИГНАЛ. The video on СИГНАЛ was published on November 3rd at 15:05, and it appeared on Facebook accounts and websites after that. It is also worth noting that the video published on the Telegram channel has a much better quality than the videos distributed later on by various other channels.

Screenshot 16 1 Fabricated Video in the Name of the US Media about the Alleged Referendum in Alaska to Join Russia

Statements of Russian Politicians About the Possibility of Alaska Joining Russia

On October 18th, 1867, the United States purchased the territory of Alaska from Russia for 7.2 million USD, and in 1959, Alaska was officially recognized as the 49th state of the US. Nevertheless, deputies of the Russian Duma and high-ranking officials have made a number of statements about the Russian origin of Alaska and its possible return to Russia.

On November 5th, in an interview with gazeta.ru, Russian Duma MP Fedot Tumusov responded to the opinion article published in The Wall Street Journal regarding Wrangel Island and noted that Russia would not give up Wrangel Island, although it is necessary and fair to return Alaska to Russia. The author of the article published in The Wall Street Journal notes that the US should regain Wrangel Island, which was occupied by the Soviet Union in October 1924, capturing the Americans living there.

Screenshot 17 1 Fabricated Video in the Name of the US Media about the Alleged Referendum in Alaska to Join Russia

In addition, on October 22nd, “Radio Sputnik” published an article noting that Russian politicians do not rule out the possibility of the separation of Alaska from the US and its return to Russia. This opinion was shared by the deputy of the “United Russia” party Maxim Ivanov and the Crimean senator Sergei Tsekov.

On July 6th, 2022, the speaker of the Russian Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, noted that the United States should remember that Alaska once belonged to Russia and may want to return it. According to Volodin, Duma Vice-Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy proposed holding a referendum in Alaska, to which Volodin says that Russia does not interfere in US domestic affairs; however, according to him, Americans have been saying for decades that everything that happens to them, including the election of presidents, is because of Russian intervention.

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, as early as March 21st, 2014, a petition asking for Alaska to join Russia was addressed to the White House. The petition’s author, with the initials SV, introduced himself as a resident of the Alaskan city of Anchorage. Based on the Russian media, the BBC noted that the man was Volgograd activist Sergey Voropaev.

On April 17th, 2014, during the annual “annual Q&A with the Russian people, one of the citizens asked Vladimir Putin a question about the possible annexation of Alaska by Russia, to which Putin replied that, as he had heard, Alaska is jokingly called the “Crimea of ​​Ice”. He also noted that Russia would have to provide financial assistance to those who are there “to live in the North”, and Russia should calculate the budget expenses correctly.

The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

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Topic: Politics
Country: Russia, USA

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