Referring to the long history of Russia-U.S. trade stretching back more than two centuries, Obama told an audience of business people in Moscow:
"Along the way, you gave us a pretty good deal on Alaska. Thank you."
Tsar Alexander II's sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867 for $7.2 million in gold, around 1.9 cents per acre, was regarded by Russians as a national disgrace -- particularly once it became clear that the province was rich in oil.
Moscow was short of cash at the time.
-- Luke Allnutt