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The Grand Duchy of Alaska is a grand duchy within the Russian Empire, located in North America. It enjoys considerable autonomy, with the Tsar of Russia serving as Grand Duke. The Governor-General of Alaska serves as representative of the Tsar.
The first Russian settlement in Alaska was founded in 1784 at Three Saints Bay, leading to the formation of the Russian America Company in 1799. Sitka, the capital of Alaska, was established the same year. For nearly a century, Russia did not fully colonise Alaska, remaining near the coast without exploration of the interior. The population remained small, weakening Russian claims on Alaska, while both distance and overhunting led to a decrease in profits for the Russian America Company. Recognising this, the Russian government began negotiations to sell Alaska to the United States, which were ultimately thwarted by the outbreak of the Veteran Fever in the United States, and the decline of the federal government. Alaska remained an isolated colonial outpost until the end of the nineteenth century.
In 1899, however, gold was discovered in Alaska, following similar discoveries in neighbouring Canada. This increased Russian interest in the colony, and thousands from all around the world migrated to Alaska. Fishing and whaling soon became major industries. Although Russian poverty prevented widespread exploitation of Alaskan resources during the early years of the 20th century the reforms of Nicholas II and the creation of the kulak class prompted the growth of the Alaskan population through migration. The population swelled to 20 000 by 1916. In acknowledgement of this, Nicholas II removed the colony from the control of the Russian America Company and declared it a guberniya, a province under the control of a Russian governor.
After World War III, some Alaskans began to demand greater local autonomy; however, its small population made this difficult. Native-born Alaskans, both Inuit and Russian, began to chafe at excessive governmental control and corruption. Finally, in 1980, Alaska was made a Grand Duchy, with the Tsar becoming Grand Duke of Alaska, represented by a governor-general. The Alaskan Duma was created to satisfy local demands for greater autonomy.
During the North American War, Alaska supplied Deseret with logistics. After an Alaskan shipment was attacked in San Francisco Bay, however, Russia declared war on Pacifica and California. Russian troops occupied Portland and bombed Seattle. In response, Canadian bombers attacked Sitka, killing nearly a thousand people. In the face of international opposition, Russia was forced to withdraw from Pacifica. In the Treaty of San Francisco, Alaska was forced to concede greater fishing rights in Aleutian Islands to Pacifica.
Alaska remains thinly populated; the 2006 census recorded 226 232 permanent inhabitants. Over 40% of these are Inuit, who mostly inhabit the scarcely inhabited interior. The capital and only city is Sitka, with a population of 60 000. The rest of the population mostly live in small mining towns. Over 90% of the population live near the Pacific Ocean coast.
Government and politics
Alaska is a Grand Duchy, with the Tsar of Russia holding the hereditary title of Grand Duke. An appointed Governor-General serves as the representative of the Tsar, as well as head of the executive. The Governor-General appoints an executive cabinet and Prime Minister to deal with administrative manners.
Legislative functions are carried out by the unicameral Alaskan Duma, which is made up of 25 appointed and 50 elected representatives. No party maintains a majority in the Duma, with the largest parties being the liberal Alaskan People's Party, the conservative Mother Russia Party and the socialist League for the Alaskan Communist Revolution. The current Prime Minister is Alexandr Rudakov of the Alaskan People's Party.
Appeals can be made from the Supreme Court of Alaska to the Russian Privy Council. However, the 1983 Statute of Moscow makes the Alaskan Duma the highest legislative authority, removing the applicability of laws passed by the Russian Duma to Alaska.