Dear Commons Community,
Over the weekend, Russia permanently banned more than 900 politicians, celebrities and executives from entering the country, including President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and actor Morgan Freeman.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced the bans on Saturday as part of a response to sanctions imposed on the country as a result of the invasion of Ukraine, as well as others who have publicly denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin. In total, 963 people are now banned. AS reported by USA Today.
“We emphasize that the hostile actions taken by Washington, which boomerang against the United States itself, will continue to receive a proper rebuff,” the ministry said in a statement. “Russian counter-sanctions are forced and aimed at forcing the ruling American regime, which is trying to impose a neo-colonial ‘rules-based world order’ on the rest of the world, to change its behavior, recognizing new geopolitical realities.”
In addition to Biden and Harris, other notable names “who incite Russophobia” on the list include Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Hillary Clinton.
However, omitted from the list is former President Donald Trump, who in the past has praised Putin and recently asked the Russian president to release any dirt he has on Biden and his son, Hunter, regarding a Russian oligarch who gave money a to a company co-founded by Hunter over a decade ago. Other living former presidents like Barack Obama and George W. Bush are not on the list.
Despite Trump’s omission from the list, supporters of the former president were included in the ban. Of the 963 people banned, over 230 are members of the U.S. Congress, both Republican and Democratic leaders.
Prominent names include: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York; Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.; Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.
The list also included deceased politicians such as former Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev; and former deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Melissa Drisko.
Aside from politicians, tech executives such as Zuckerberg and Microsoft President Brad Smith were also banned, as well as journalists George Stephanopoulos of ABC News and Bret Stephens of The New York Times.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Academy Award winner Freeman was part of the ban because he was part of a September 2017 video “accusing Russia of conspiring against the United States and calling for a fight against our country,” which was about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Being on Russia’s banned list is a badge of honor!