Diomede Islands, and the US-Russia love-hate story

September 03, 2019
Apart from their love-hate relationship, US and Russia's international border is also something which might interest you. Just 3.8 km apart, right in the middle of Bering Strait, lies the Diomede islands. These pair of islands officially separate the US and Russia, as evident from their mention in the 1867 treaty between the two countries, when US bought Alaska from Russia. Well, world politics just got a bit interesting, I guess!
The pair of islands, however, are not owned by one country alone. The Big Diomede is Russia's, and Little Diomede belongs to the US. One more interesting aspect is that of time, as the Big Diomede is ahead of the Little Diomede by 21 hours! We won't blame the US if it feels a bit jealous, though. This happens because of the International Date Line, which divides them. Also, for this very reason, the Big Diomede is called Tomorrow Island, and Little Diomede is called Yesterday Islands! It seems, when politics and time meet in some corner of the universe, strange things take place.

History makes us. But what kind of history preceded the history of the Diomede Islands? The islands has been discovered and rediscovered, first by a Russian explorer, Semyon Dezhnev in 1648, and next by a Danish navigator, Vitus Bering. But Bering's feat fell on a very important date, i.e., on 16th August, 1728. Apparently, the Russian Orthodox Church had chosen this very day, and had been celebrating it to honour Saint Diomedes, and this is how the islands got their name!
But the Diomede Islands are more than their identity as the US-Russia border. It saw the Cold War, and was then called the Ice Curtain for obvious reasons. Politics sure can get creative! As of now, the Big Diomede is a Russian military base, and the Little Diomede houses the small Inupiat Inuit population, which is only 170! If you go there during the winter, you will find a firm ice bridge linking the islands. If you feel a bit adventurous, you can even cross the bridge, and see two countries at the travel expense of one. So, if you want to get arrested, we suggest you perform this very dangerous stunt!

Post Written by - Lopamudra

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