An Independent Beringia?

Two weeks ago, after months of Russian military buildup in eastern Siberia, 95% of the ethnic Russian residents of northwestern Alaska voted to declare independence from the United States and join their brethren just across the Bering Strait. The only remaining question is whether they will choose to join the Russian Federation, or set up a sovereign independent state known as the Republic of Beringia.

Below is the latest report from The Los Angeles Times on events in Beringia since the referendum:

What next for Beringia?

Nome, April 1 2014

By Scapley Montferrat

The chill wind blows in off the Norton Sound in the harbor area of Nome, the capital of the newly-independent state of Beringia. Longer days have returned to Nome, but there is not yet any sign of spring.

Earlier today I talked to a number of citizens down by the wharf, all of them Beringitsi, the ethnic Russians who have maintained their language and cultural identity here for centuries, since Catherine the Great first wrested Alaska from the Inuit in the 1780s. The fact that Secretary of State William Seward bought their territory from Russia in 1867 is of no moment to them. As far as they are concerned, Beringia remains Beringia.

Most of the men I spoke to were unwilling to give their names or go on the record. However, Pyotr Kornilov, a seal-blubber dealer and boat salesman, was ebullient and talkative. He spoke to me in fluent English, albeit with the peculiar Beringit accent.

“Aye, everyone around here is real happy about the vote,” he told me. “We’ve got our own flag and our own government offices now. Beringia is a reality!” He grinned at me, showing three missing teeth on one side. “We’ve always been Russian, ever since we first kicked the Inuit into the sound!”

I asked him if he thought the new state would join up with Russia.

He gave me a sidelong, canny look. “It’s too early to say, lad. I’ll tell you this, though: we’ll do whatever is in our best interests. That might be Russia, or it might not.”

I asked him about the Beringian economy. He reminded me that large oil reserves were recently discovered under the Chukchi Sea, just off Cape Lisburne.

“We’ve lots of choices about who will develop it, y’know. It’s not just Rosneft. The Chinese are very interested. We had a delegation of Chinese geologists and energy officials up here just last week. We’ll see who offers the best deal.

“I’m partial to the Chinks meself.” He winked at me. “Better-looking women, y’know…”

What caused the Beringian people to vote so overwhelmingly for independence?

His eyes blazed. “Obamacare was the straw what broke the walrus’ back,” he said fiercely. “We reckoned we’d had enough of all that socialism! That’s what made people go for Russia.”

I scanned the waterfront where the crowds milled in the harbor area. Customers were looking over the fish and smiled as they gazed out at the sound. There was no hint of trouble here. According to the grapevine, however, the same could not be said of other towns and villages. In Shaktoolik and St. Michael there were reports of demonstrations and violence by members of the local Muslim minority group. Known as the Dimuit, the Muslims say they lived on this coast long before the Russians arrived, ever since the time of the prophet, when they conquered Alaska for Islam. They are now calling on the United States to their protect their rights as an indigenous ethnicity.

But Mr. Kornilov dismissed them with a wave of his hand. “The Dims? They ain’t nothin’! There’s only fourteen hundred of ’em in the whole blamed country.”

I reminded him of the mega-mosque that is currently under construction at Point Hope. When complete, it is expected to have 90,000 square feet of worship space and a hundred-foot minaret.

He sneered. “Aah, that’s just Saudi money! You can build anything you want if you have enough Saudi money.”

21 thoughts on “An Independent Beringia?

    • That’s a great weather site. But hard to believe those green cloud icons over California. Serisly -is that an April Fool’s joke?

      When did the weather gods decide to let California have rain??

      • Since Feb. 1 rains have been excellent in California. I could explain the Cal system but too boring for here. You can see the storm sweeping down from arctic Berengia by clicking the satellite setting if the link shuts it off.

        • I’m old. I love weather. My mother-in-law warned me it would happen. The weather channel gets me hooked when we travel and there’s a TV in the room.

          And having commenters in so many places, I’m always interested in their climate or town. For the US nearly every town has a wiki with pictures and a history.You should see the lovely one for Traverse City Michigan- sweet cherry capitol of the US. Or Tyler TX, the capitol of rose-growing. One of our donors said he left Michigan for Texas (Tyler) and never looked back.

          As for California, our ruined paradise, a lot of it remains undamaged but I can see why the calls for secession are starting to sound. Los Angeles is 48% Hispanic and some have chased blacks out of their old neighborhoods…

          Maybe some Americans will head to Nome and give Putin the raspberry. If the immigrants in Minnesota hail from Somalia, Somalia must be a hellhole for them to make the change. The (second group of) indigenes, largely Scandinavian, must’ve found Minnesota similar in climate. Somalis, not so much.

          In the UK, the most I can ever find is a description of the postal zone that home sellers put up, letting you know if you’ll have the right sorts of neighbors.

          • If you want a good weather prediction, the real deal, for free, watch Joe Bastardi’s Saturday summary at Weatherbell. Click the little video on their webpage once a week.

            Me too, I’m a weather buff a bit, checking everyone’s weather.

            (I used to go to Traverse City every year as a child. Fantastic sour cream raisin pies as well as cherry back then. Hard to decide which is better. )

            It might not be that bad up in Nome, long as there are enough trees to burn and ample greenhouses. Probably enough fish and furs to trade too.

  1. Imam taanga taryutuu’uq is apparently the new motto of Beringia – the ocean is salty.

  2. Nice one Baron. Better than the BBC’s spaghetti tree that they keep reminding us about on the World Service.

      • It was a spoof edition of the current affairs programme “Panorama” on April 1st in (I think) 1967. Having regular presenter Richard Dimbleby, who’d reported the D-Day landings and liberation of Belsen, added conviction.

    • Wasn’t that wonderful? The Baron says that’s an actual map he found on Goog Images. The red line (pardon that expression) is the best guess they have of what the land mass looked like a geological age ago. You can tell because of the different color of the shallower water.

      I believe they’ve recovered core samples from the ocean floor that show there was once habitation there.

    • why would you pre-empt an apology? I have no idea what creationists have to do with Pangea, or even what the latter is, but what is your point??

      • According to the theory of plate tectonics (previously dubbed “continental drift”), which accounts for the recent volcanic and earthquake activity at Yellowstone and down the Pacific coast, there was a supercontinent called Pangea which broke apart, the Americas going west (so to speak)- which is why South America & Africa look like adjacent pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and fossils of similar, & apparently related, dinosaur superpredators have recently been identified on both sides of the Atlantic.

        Creationists tend to follow the (then new) theories of a c19th Anglican bishop, dating the Earth back only 6,000 years or so, despite ever-increasing evidence to the contrary- unless God (or the Devil?) deliberately planted false evidence to confuse us, evidence which would only be properly recognised & understood 1,800 years after Christ. Even for God, faking rocks, and fossils, dating back over many millions of years, just to lead us astray, was a strange undertaking- no wonder He took a break on the Sabbath.

        Beringia, like Pangea, did exist, and much more recently (or there’d be no Native Americans, North or South).

        I suspect, without any evidence to support my supposition, that I’ve absorbed my sometimes obscure & heavy-handed sense of humour from my idol Beethoven. Did you know that the second movement of his 8th Symphony parodies the newly-invented metronome? Maybe I at least have some German ancestry!!

    • That’s actually not a problem.

      Switching back and forth from a soft g to a hard g is common in English and other languages, when the number or case of noun changes, say, or with different tenses of a verb, or when a noun is used to make an adjective.

      Take for example the word “ideologue”, which is formed from “ideology”. We don’t have any difficulty associating the two forms of “g” with each other, and intutively understand the rules governing their use.

      Another example is “hang”, which becomes “hinge” when designating the piece of hardware on which a door hangs. The same use of the Old English participle may be found in Stonehenge, which is “hanging stone”.

      I could go on, but this should suffice to cure any remaining readers’ insomnia…

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