Strange Maps: You CAN See Russia From Alaska

March 21, 2011

In 2008, a Sarah Palin impersonator famously said, “I can see Russia from my house.” This quote has provided fodder for countless comedians and perhaps helped propel her opponent into the White House. [Edited for accuracy]

But what many people do not realize is … Yes, Sarah, you can see Russia from your house!

That is, if you own a home on Little Diomede Island, Alaska.

Map of Alaska showing Diomede Islands location

Map of Bering Strait showing Diomede Islands location

Map of Big Diomede Island and Little Diomede Island

As these maps of Alaska and Russia show, this tiny island is in the middle of the Bering Sea between Alaska (obviously part of the USA) and Russia, and is just 2.4 miles from its larger sibling, Big Diomede Island. However, the gulf between the two islands is actually much larger; the USA / Russia border runs between the two islands, and Big Diomede Island is owned by Russia.

Little Diomede Island, Alaska is home to less than 200 hardy residents, practically all in a small village on the west side in full view of the larger island 2.4 miles away. So, these American residents can literally see Russia from their house. Sarah was right after all!

Big Diomede Island as seen from Little Diomede Island

Big Diomede Island as seen from Little Diomede Island (taken by Anant Kamath via Wikipedia)

The two islands are also separated by the International Date Line. Does that mean Sarah Palin would be seeing her future each time she gazes at Big Diomede Island, and Putin his past when he looks at Little Diomede Island? Hmm.

Legend has it that the same families settled both islands and then were torn asunder when the United States claimed one island and Russia claimed the other. And, again according to legend, births and deaths were announced by shouting across the water to the other island.

However, according to reliable (?) Wikipedia, all native residents were removed from Big Diomede Island by the Soviet government. Nowadays, only a small weather base and its staff remain on Big Diomede Island.


12 Responses to “Strange Maps: You CAN See Russia From Alaska”

  1. Jaimey Says:

    Tina Fey said “I can see Russia from my House” not Sarah Palin. Granted Tina was dressed up and pretending to be Sarah, but still…

  2. […] Ratmanova Island is the easternmost point of Russia, only 3.9 km from the westernmost point of the U.S – Little Diomede which has an estimated population of 135 in the native village of Inalik  – the only place in the U.S. where you can actually see Russia. […]

  3. Vlad Says:

    Remeber Lynn Cox who swam in 1977 from Little to Big Diomede, welcomed by the Soviets.

  4. Ken Says:

    1987…and you can see a video of Lynn Cox talking about the amazing feat at this link:

  5. Rachel Says:

    I’m glad some one pointed out that it was NOT Sarah Palin that said that. It was comedic actress Tina Fey. Get your facts straight before you post them all over the internet. You only make yourself look stupid when you post incorrect information.

  6. michaeltrieu Says:

    I’m fairly sure you can see the Russian mainland from the mountains in Tin City, too. Look out up in Google Earth some time.

  7. RC Christian Says:

    Tina Fey said that, not Sarah Palin. Palin however was the victim of character assassination in the media. You should edit this article and make it “accurate”. Palin correctly stated you can see Russia from “Alaska” , not her house.

  8. Jimmy Gobble Says:

    Here is the actual Palin quote:

  9. Jennifer Says:

    The point is that Sarah clearly isn’t very bright and she thought her proximity to Russia gave her insight and experience that would be valuable. Luckily, the American people didn’t fall for it. I think John McCain was irresponsible for putting her on the ticket when he hadn’t checked her out. She struggles with basic facts and someone like that shouldn’t be in any elected office. A job on Fox, however, doesn’t require an education or any affinity for facts!

  10. Anton Flores Says:

    Those of you who are jumping all over the author obviously can’t read! The author clearly stated:In 2008, a Sarah Palin impersonator famously said, “I can see Russia from my house.” “…a Sarah Palin IMPERSONATOR!
    Can you read the following correctly?
    “A bird is in the
    the spring”. Did you catch it?

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