The Lend-Lease Program was a turning point during World War II. From 1941-45, about $12.5 billion in war materials and other supplies were shipped to the Soviet Union over four major routes.
The Alaska-Siberia Lend-Lease program demonstrated that two nations could compromise their views, cultural values and principles enough to achieve a common, mutually beneficial goal - defeat of Nazi Germany and its allies.
At a time when our two countries are once again discovering the benefits of mutual cooperation and have begun rebuilding economic and social bridges, it seems fitting to remind Alaskans of the Lend-lease Program and Russian-American cooperation of the 1940s.
The Alaska-Siberia Research Center (www.aksrc.org) has established the "Alaska-Siberia Lend-Lease Award" to recognize distinguished individuals and organizations that made significant contributions for improvement of Russian-North American relations, toward peace among the Allies, and in Russian-Alaska studies. Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir V. Putin were first recipients of this award.
On Feb. 28, the award was presented to four distinguished Alaskans: Sen. Loren Leman, Rep. Richard Foster, Rep. Mike Chenault and Rep. John Davies for strengthening U.S.A.-Russian relations.
Alexander Dolitsky, Director
Alaska-Siberia Research Center