Meet Little Diomede Island in Alaska, Only 2.4 Miles from Russia Is the ‘Eyes and Ears’ of the United States

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Big Diomede Island, Russia (left) and Little Diomede Island, Alaska (right).Orbital Horizon/Copernicus Sentinel Data 2018/Gallo Images/Getty Images

  • Life in Diomede, Alaska is unlike anywhere else in the United States.

  • Just 2.4 miles from Russia’s Big Diomede Island, the city of 83 people can see the border from the shore.

  • “We are safe, as long as we get a good night’s sleep,” one resident told Insider. “We have eyes and ears.”

Geopolitical relations between Russia and the United States are often viewed through the lens of geography, with the two countries projecting power over several time zones on opposite sides of the Earth.

As the world’s two largest nuclear powers – and as Russia’s offensive against Ukraine enters its sixth month, keeping US-Russia relations at an all-time low – fears of an armed conflict in far-flung regions produces images of long-range missile strikes and proxy wars. , or for Baby Boomers, the “duck-and-cover” exercise at school.

Yet in the middle of the Bering Strait, there are Americans who can literally see Russia from their homes.

“We are the back doors to the country — or the front doors, rather,” Edward Soulook, a 55-year-old lifelong resident of Diomede, told Insider in a phone interview.

Russian soldiers stationed on Big Diomede Island, 2.4 miles away, would shout in English at any boat going too close to its shoreline. He has also been known to occasionally fire a warning shot, Suluk said – he has never personally heard a warning shot.

“We’re safe, as long as we get a good night’s sleep,” Suluk told Insider, noting that life on the island hasn’t changed dramatically since Russia invaded Ukraine. . “We have eyes and ears.”

As of the 2020 census, the city of Diomede, Alaska, on Little Diomede Island has a population of 83.

Big Diomede Island has a barren landscape similar to Little Diomede Island, but also houses a small Russian military base and a Soviet Lisunov Li-2 plane that crashed since 1972.

Big Diomede is in a timezone 21 hours ahead of Little Diomede, but the two islands have clear views of each other, and the city of Alaska is directly toward the cliffs of Big Island.

border border

Little Diomede remains unknown to most Americans. But little has changed in the past several weeks.

For example, in a growing sub-genre of Google Maps-themed TikTok videos, a post by map_nerd about islands has already garnered over 1.6 million likes on the social media app.

The best route there is to take a virtual tour of Little Diomede. Unless you charter or commandeer a boat, when the sea is not frozen, there is only one way to reach Diomede – helicopter.

Pathfinder Aviation offers helicopter trips to and from Nome to Diomede, on the west coast of Alaska. These include emergency flights, which the company says are available 24 hours a day. A representative for Pathfinder declined to comment for this story.

Bering Air, which also declined to comment for this story, stopped flights to Diomede in 2018 after a hurricane breached a frozen landing strip. “We look forward to resuming the service in the future!” The company says on its own Website,

2018 is rather unprecedented in the history of the islands and has remained since, according to alaska magazine,

“Climate change is real, and it is demanding that we people learn to live around the new climates, weather, snow conditions and even the loss of our culture,” said Opik Okinga, environmental coordinator for Diomede. told the magazine. “Soon, we will no longer see the manners we practice, the practices that our ancestors gave us for a living.”

For more than 3,000 years, the Ingalikmiut people have navigated the islands and surrounding ice sheets, conquering conditions and rocky surfaces in the Bering Strait to live off fish and other natural resources.

read the original article on business Insider

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