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Ferenc Gróf: Everyone’s No Man’s Land

Letter to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, president of the Russian Federation

Letter to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, president of the Russian Federation

 

Dear Mr. President,

There is no need to introduce Franz Joseph Land to you, since you still undoubtedly remember the polar bear that you fitted with a transponder chip during your last presidential visit and which continues to roam around undisturbed on one of the 192 islands of the arctic archipelago. This ice-covered territory, discovered in an expedition launched by a dubious European state and named after a no less dubious monarch, remained for decades a terra nullius belonging to no sovereign state until the Soviet Union annexed it in 1926. I am now writing to you, Mr. President, to request that you renounce Franz Joseph Land in the name of the government of the Russian Federation in favor of the other 192 member states of the United Nations. Only a magnanimous presidential gesture can counter the corrupting effects of refined nationalism. May Franz Josef Land become everyone’s no man’s land!