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Obama makes pointed quip on Russian sale of Alaska
July 7, 2009 / 1:47 PM / 8 years ago

Obama makes pointed quip on Russian sale of Alaska

<p>U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev shake hands at the Parallel Business Summit at Manezh Exhibition Hall in Moscow, July 7, 2009. Obama said on Tuesday that Russia and the United States should promote transparency and the rule of law to ensure economic growth and investment. REUTERS/Jim Young</p>

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Visiting U.S. President Barack Obama made a pointed quip Tuesday about Russia’s sale of Alaska to the United States in the 19th century.

Referring to the long history of Russia-U.S. trade stretching back more than two centuries, Obama told an audience of business people in Moscow:

“Along the way, you gave us a pretty good deal on Alaska. Thank you.”

Czar Alexander II’s sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867 for $7.2 million in gold, around 1.9 cents per acre, was regarded by Russians as a national disgrace -- particularly once it became clear that the province was rich in oil.

Moscow was short of cash at the time.

Writing by Michael Stott, editing by Ralph Boulton

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