Barack Obama banned from Russia

Lazy eyes listen


On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry published a list of 500 US citizens, including former President Barack Obama, who are barred from entering Russia with immediate effect. The decision is in response to continued US sanctions against Russia.

“It is past time for Washington to realise that no attack on Russia will go unpunished,” the ministry said in a statement. “Whether we are talking about tougher sanctions or discriminatory steps to impede our citizens’ professional activities, the principle of inevitable punishment will be consistently applied.”

The Russian government has refused to grant the embassy’s request for a consular visit to Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal correspondent charged with espionage, in retaliation for the US embassy in Moscow withholding visas for Russian journalists, preventing them from accompanying Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the UN Security Council last month.

Aside from Obama, the Russian blacklist includes many members of Congress, governors and attorneys general from several US states, former officials who now serve on the boards of prominent think tanks, military contractors who supply weapons to Ukraine, and even the brief-lived “disinformation czar” Nina Jankowicz.

The list also includes “those in government and law enforcement agencies who are directly involved in the persecution of dissidents in the aftermath of the so-called Capitol insurgency,” according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

US Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew Graves, his predecessor Michael Sherwin, DC Attorney General Karl Racine, and Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot unarmed demonstrator Ashli Babbitt, are among notable people in this category.

Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt (formerly the US ambassador to Ukraine in 2014); James Rubin, former State Department spokesman and current head of the Global Engagement Centre; State Department Counsellor Derek Chollet; and President Joe Biden’s senior advisor, Anita Dunn are among the prominent Biden administration officials who made the blacklist.

TV hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Rachel Maddow, and Joe Scarborough, as well as former NBC host Brian Williams, were among those sanctioned.

Army and Air Force Secretaries Christine Wormuth and Frank Kendall were also named, as was USAF Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown Jr.

However, think tanks and the military-industrial complex dominated the list. Former Secretary of Defence and Marine General James Mattis was sanctioned for his position on the board of General Dynamics, and ex-CIA Director George Tenet was sanctioned for his position on the board of an agency contractor. In-Q-Tel.

John Tefft, a former US ambassador to Russia, has been appointed as a senior fellow at RAND Corporation. For their association with the Brookings Institute, Nelson Strobridge “Strobe” Talbot III, formerly of the State Department, and Norm Eisen were sanctioned. Eric Ciaramella, senior Russia and Eurasia researcher at the Carnegie Foundation, was among the numerous names on the sanctions list, which also included many individuals from the Atlantic Council and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies think tanks.

Other noteworthy individuals on the Russian blacklist were Ukraine’s former finance minister Natalie Jaresko and Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council Russia expert.