The American flag that long flew in the water between Portland and Falmouth has been mysteriously replaced with the red, white and blue bars of the Russian Federation.
The Russian flag replaced the stars and stripes that flew from a small flagpole erected in an old, submerged bridge piling in the Presumpscot River estuary, just west of the Martin’s Point Bridge.
The flagpole is on the Falmouth side of the border, but it’s not maintained by the town, and neither local officials nor police knew where the new flag had come from or when it appeared there. Falmouth police said they are not investigating the Russian presence in Maine water, since it’s not a crime.
“I don’t know what point they’re trying to make,” said Falmouth Town Manager Nathan Poore. “It could be someone proud of their Russian heritage, or it could be a political point.”
Commenters on Reddit first observed the Russian flag Sunday, hours before The Wall Street Journal published a report that American intelligence agencies had opened an investigation into communications between the Russian ambassador and President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, retired general Michael Flynn. The intelligence agencies previously reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an “influence campaign,” including computer hacking, to tilt the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.
The water around the flagpole — while far too shallow to hide a submarine, as some online joked — is easily accessible by boat, and docks dot the nearby banks in both Portland and Falmouth.
Many commenters responded to news of the flag with faux concern over an imminent Russian invasion. But one person took a proactive approach for the appearance of Russian colors over Maine waters.
“I’m going to go replace it later,” wrote a Reddit user on Monday. “Anyone have a good idea for a flag, or should I just put an American one up?”