MOSCOW, March 25 (RIA Novosti) - Over 22,000 people have signed a petition calling for the secession of Alaska from the United States to seek reunification with Russia.
The petition, available on the White House website, opened on March 21. If the motion attracts 100,000 signatures within a month, the Obama administration is obliged to respond according to its guidelines.
The petition, entitled "Alaska Back to Russia," encourages a vote on secession, citing historic travels of Russian explorers to Alaska, as far back as the crossing of native Siberians across the Bering land bridge over 10 thousand years ago.
The document tracks the settlement of the region by Russians, including Aleuts colonizing the Aleutian Archipelago, and the expedition of famed explorer Mikhail Gvozdez who first sited Alaska in 1732.
Alaska was a Russian colony until 1867 when Russian Emperor Alexander II sold it to the US for $7.2 million -$120 million in today's money after being adjusted for inflation.
In November 2012, a similar petition sought Texas' withdrawal from the US following the state's dissatisfaction with federal economic policy.
Signatories of that petition called for Texas to declare independence in order to maintain a balanced budget and "to protect its citizens' standard of living."
Similar motions were filed by residents of several other American states, including Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Georgia.
Yet only Texas garnered enough signatures - over 125,000 - to be reviewed by the Obama administration, which turned the petition down saying that while "no one disputes that our country faces big challenges," Americans needed to work together "to find the best way to move forward."
Despite the value of healthy debate, "we don't let that debate tear us apart," the White House said.