The next Kenai Peninsula College Showcase, “Russian/American Relations and the Movement to Take Alaska Back,” is set for Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the commons at the Kenai River Campus. The featured presenter is Kenai Peninsula College Assistant Professor of History Dr. Jeffrey Meyers.
The KPC Showcase is a series of free events designed to provide a stage to display the talents and expertise of members of the college and the wider community. The program returned from hiatus earlier this year, and has featured talks on local Dena’ina archaeological sites, recycling efforts to remove plastic from the oceans and a conversation between two peninsula authors.
Meyers said the presentation should run 30-45 minutes, followed by a Q&A, and will examine the political rhetoric coming out of Russia and America from 2014 to today from people “who believe that Alaska should still be a part of Russia, or that Russia at some point will take Alaska back.”
The goal is not to scare people, Meyers said.
“It’s just information they might want to know that helps broaden their understanding of what this Russian nationalist movement means. Not just for Alaska, but also for the Ukraine War, and for Europe, and for gas and oil and everything else.”
Meyers said he’s long followed cultural movements and geopolitics between Alaska and Russia, which led to the topic of his showcase.
“Let’s connect what’s happening in the world today with Alaska,” he said. “Kind of an Alaska-centric slash geopolitical idea of what’s going on in the world.”
Meyers said rhetoric directly aimed at Alaska has been “repeatedly said in public” by powerful Russian politicians. This doesn’t include Russian President Vladimir Putin, but does include those around him.
Another element of the situation Meyers will discuss is the wider cultural movement in Russia that wants “to get Alaska back.” This includes a song by a Russian rock band called Lyube, who in 1991 wrote a song titled “Don’t Fool Around, America.”
“The song revolves around the idea that Alaska is more culturally connected to Russia than to America, and at some point, it’s going to come back to Russia,” Meyers said.
The lead singer of Lyube has been seen with Putin and the band sang at Putin’s rally following the invasion of Ukraine in March of this year.
“They’re like a Russian nationalist punk rock band; they sing about things like how great the Russian motherland is, and one of the songs that they sing is that Alaska will be Russian again,” Meyers said.
More information about the Kenai Peninsula College Showcase, including announcements for future installments of the series, can be found at Kenai Peninsula College Showcase on Facebook.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at firstname.lastname@example.org.