‘End of discussion’: Putin emphasizes 1945 as benchmark for Kurils as part of Russia

SAKHALIN REGION, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 8, 2018: An aerial image of Olya Bay and the island of Iturup in Russia’s Far East; Iturup is one of the southern Kurile Islands, which are claimed by Japan. Sergei Krasnoukhov/TASS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

VLADIVOSTOK, Sep 6, 2019, TASS. Russia sets 1945 as the starting reference point in determining the nationhood of the southern Kuril Islands because it is precisely in that year that these islands were ceded to the Soviet Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with members of the Russian Far East community on the sidelines of the fifth Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), reported the TASS.

During that gathering, head of the Seven Oceans naval training center Anatoly Shtanko mentioned the expedition to Japan conducted by the 19th-century Russian admiral and diplomat, Yevfimiy Putyatin. The Russian president clarified: “Was it him who ceded the islands to Japan?” [Putin was talking about the 1855 Treaty of Shimoda, which established that Japan then gained control over a part of the Kuril Islands — TASS]. Shtanko replied that history has many significant dates and that “judging by [the] 1945 [outcome], there can be no questions [about the Kuril Islands] whatsoever.”

“Let’s rely on this, and on this starting point. Papa [Stalin] took everything and that was that, end of discussion. [He was] The Father of Nations,” Putin said smiling, referring to Joseph Stalin who led the Soviet Union at that time.

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