Maps of 18th Century Indicate Kuril Islands' Historical Belonging to Russia – Scientist

MOSCOW, September 2- The historical belonging of the Kuril Islands to Russia is confirmed by old maps from the time of Russian Empress Catherine the Great, where these territories are marked as Russian, an orientalist scholar from the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Anatoly Koshkin, said on Wednesday. The four islands closest to…

MOSCOW, September 2 (Sputnik) – The historical belonging of the Kuril Islands to Russia is confirmed by old maps from the time of Russian Empress Catherine the Great, where these territories are marked as Russian, an orientalist scholar from the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Anatoly Koshkin, said on Wednesday.

“There are maps that indicate that all these islands currently claimed by Japan — Kunashir that was called Kunashiri at that time, Iturup was Iturupu, and Shikotan was Sikota — they are all painted in the color of the Russian Empire. This is one of the most explicit and convincing maps of 1796,” Koshkin said at a press conference organized by the Rossiya Segodnya news agency.

According to the scholar, at that time even the island of Hokkaido was not a Japanese territory, and the Ainu people who were living there willingly accepted Orthodoxy and became subjects of Russia.

Thus, according to Koshkin, Japan’s statements about the Kuril Islands being its ancestral territories contradict historical facts.

The Kuril Islands are a chain of islands stretching through the Okhotsk Sea between Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido. The four islands closest to Japan have been a point of contention between Russia and Japan since the end of World War II when the two nations did not sign the peace treaty because each claimed sovereignty over the disputed territories.

Russia insists that the islands were transferred to the Soviet Union after the end of the war and have been an integral part of Russia ever since. Japan maintains that the four islands still belong to Japan under the 1855 Treaty of Shimoda, which placed them under Japanese rule.

The long-standing territorial dispute has been a major setback for Russian-Japanese economic and political cooperation.

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