While searching through various documents on the U.S. Dept. of Transportation website, I came across something very interesting.
Apparently, back in 1995, Aeroflot applied for the authority to fly from Russia to Honolulu and on to Oakland. They were also applying for an exemption to what's called the "Anchorage stop condition" that stated that all flights from the Russian Far East to the continental U.S. had to stop in Anchorage.
The State of Hawaii strongly supported the application(s) saying that such service would strongly benefit the local and national economies and increase tourist and cargo flow to Hawaii. However, both Alaska Airlines and United strongly opposed the application. Alaska because it was having problems with securing authority from the Russian government to serve Petropavlosk, and United because it wanted to develop its code-sharing capability with Lufthansa via Frankfurt. A copy of a memo from the State of Hawaii to the Dept. of Transportation can be seen here in pdf format:
I thought this was very interesting. I wasn't able to determine what decision was made by the DOT.
I guess back then SU thought they could make money on a Russia-HNL-OAK route. Perhaps all of those poor souls freezing in the Russian far east could benefit from the sun and sand of Hawaii! Perhaps the service continuing to OAK was primarily for cargo. Does anyone know if the "Anchorage stop condition" is still in force?