The islands of Ratmanov and Kruzenshtern are two differentof the world, which are separated from each other by the Bering Strait, a distance of 4 km and 21 hours of time. The thing is that one island belongs to Russia, and the second belongs to the United States. You can get from one island to another in about 20 minutes, but despite this they belong to different time zones. Moreover, there is a date line between the islands, hence the time difference, which is 21 hours in summer and 20 hours in winter. This allows you to literally go back in time one day ago. No one lives on the Russian island anymore, only border observation posts remain. The American island is still inhabited by the Eskimo community, that is, the indigenous population that has been living here for several thousand years.
Diomede Islands - self-sufficient life away from civilization
The Diomede Islands are located right in the centerBering Strait between two continents. The United States owns the island of Krusenstern, aka Little Diomede. The Eskimo name of this island is Ingalik, or Ignaluk. People have been living on it for more than 5,000 years, but the first time the inhabitants of the mainland visited it was in 1648. These were members of the expedition of Semyon Dezhnev.
In 2010, the population of the island was 110Human. Over 95% of the local population are Alaska Natives (Eskimos) or American Indians. By the way, according to one of the theories, the American Indians are the descendants of the ancient inhabitants of Siberia. Some locals have features that are uncharacteristic for them, such as blond hair that they inherited from the Russians.
All buildings are grouped on the same bank, asthe rest of the island is occupied by rocks. The settlement has a school, one shop, a hospital and a post office. But there are no hotels and cafes on the island. In fact, they are not needed here, since there are few tourists. The fact is that visiting the island of Kruzinshtern is not so easy. To do this, you must obtain permission from the authorities of Alaska. In addition, tourists must provide their own travel and accommodation.
It must be said that the island is located at about 25miles from mainland Alaska. It can only be reached by air or by boat. Previously, in winter, it was also possible to cross the Bering Strait between the islands on ice, but over time it practically ceased to freeze, as a result of which the islands were cut off from the mainland throughout the year.
Of course, the weather here can be characterizedas unfavorable. Winter lasts eight months. However, there are no extreme temperatures - in winter frosts keep up to 12-14 degrees, and in summer the temperature rises to 4-10 degrees. The relatively warm season lasts about two to three months. As a result of global warming, the average temperature has been rising recently.
US defectors and the Ice Curtain
Diomede Islands during the Cold Warbecame famous as defectors. From the USA, people fled to the USSR overcoming the Bering Strait. A similar situation was with the USSR. Basically, the criminals tried to leave the country. The reason was that there were no agreements between the two countries on the extradition of criminals. In fact, it doesn't exist to this day.
Shoots usually took place in the autumn period, beforemelting ice. However, the waters between the islands were carefully guarded and it was forbidden to cross them. The border was then nicknamed the “Ice Curtain”, which appeared in 1948. The situation changed only after almost forty years. In 1987, American writer and long-distance swimmer Lynn Cox swam from Little Diomede to Big Diomede at a temperature of 4-6 degrees. The woman was congratulated at once by two presidents - Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan. This moment is considered the fall of the "ice curtain".
How the Ice Curtain Separated Families Forever
Before America bought Alaska from Russia,families lived on two islands, went to visit each other across the frozen strait. However, everything changed with the advent of the "ice curtain". Moreover, local residents from Rotmanov Island were resettled in Siberia, after which the military settled on it. As a result, the connection between families was severed and, in fact, was not restored even after the fall of the "ice curtain". Currently, crossing the border is again prohibited.
It must be said that the inhabitants of the Bering Strait regionare one people and speak their native language. However, the inhabitants of Kruzenshtern Island are becoming more and more familiar with Western culture and already speak English, so it becomes increasingly difficult for them to keep in touch with relatives. In addition, old people who still remember their relatives are gradually dying, and young people do not know them at all.
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According to the locals, they often seeships and helicopters of the Russian military. If local fishermen get too close to the border in boats, the military fires warning shots. It is hoped that the situation will change in the future. For a long time, plans have been developed to strengthen ties between the people who find themselves on opposite sides of the border. In particular, it is planned to build a tunnel under the Bering Strait. However, in connection with the aggravated relations between the United States and Russia, the fate of the tunnel is still in question.