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Two domes from a Russian Orthodox church in Dutch Harbor

Fifteen years since the Friendship Flight

In 2013, Alaskans commemorated the 15-year anniversary of the opening of the border between Alaska and Russia. The first "Friendship Flight" on Alaska Airlines across the Bering Strait took place in June of 1998. It symbolized the warming of relations between our two countries, and the decisive end to the Cold War.

One of the most interesting illustrations of Alaska’s close proximity to and relationship with Russia is found on Little Diomede and Big Diomede islands. The two islands sit just 2.4 miles apart in the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia, and yet Little Diomede is part of Alaska while Big Diomede is Russian territory. Big Diomede sits across the International Date Line from its smaller sister and 23 hours ahead.

More on Russian heritage in Alaska

View more Alaska anniversaries


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