The talk of Washington: the quest to see who is banned by Moscow's travel sanctions list

After releasing a list of banned Americans, Moscow said it would blacklist Canadian officials next.

Updated: May 22, 2022 - 10:49pm

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Moscow's announcement that it has blocked 963 Americans from entering Russia provided fodder for a type of online parlor game over the weekend, with people commenting with varying degrees of humor or gravity as they learned who was on or off the list.

"I guess we will have to cancel our August family trip to Moscow ..." former White House Press Secretary Jen Pskai wrote on Twitter, in a joking response to finding her name on the list.

Moscow on Saturday published the roster of U.S. government officials and prominent cultural figures who are "permanently banned" from entering the Russian Federation. The list came in retaliation for Western sanctions that were imposed after Russia in February launched an attack on Ukraine, said the Russian Foreign Ministry. 

"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," the Foreign Ministry wrote in Russian in announcing the list.

The banned people include President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, along with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Also banned are Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and first son Hunter Biden.

The Foreign Ministry published the document May 21 in Russian, with individual names listed in Russian transliterations of their English spellings.

A scan of the document shows that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and actor Morgan Freeman are banned, along with Hillary Clinton and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty President Jamie Fly.

People both on and off the list weighed in on the merits of being placed on the lineup.

In a May 21 tweet, RFE's Fly wrote that he was pleased to be part of it. 

"Proud to be included on this list," Fly wrote. "RFE/RL being attacked by authoritarians is nothing new. We know that history is on the side of the Russian people. We'll continue to expand our reporting for Russian audiences at this critical moment."

Entertainer Ricky Davilla wrote on Twitter that he wanted to join the roster.

"I personally would love to be banned from ever going to Putin's Russia like Actor Morgan Freeman, Director Rob Reiner, VP Kamala Harris, President Biden, Senator Cory Booker and the other 1,000 Americans they listed," Davilla wrote. "It's a badge of honor." 

Others claimed to draw meaning from who was not on the list, noting that Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, and other conservative figures had not been included. But former President Barack Obama and wife Michelle have not been banned; nor have Bernie Sanders or climate czar John Kerry.

The list included at least two people who have died: former Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and John McCain (R-Ariz.). 

Moscow described the criteria for who is banned from entering the Russian Federation.

"Russia does not seek confrontation and is open to honest, mutually respectful dialogue, separating the American people, who are always respected by us, from the U.S. authorities, who incite Russophobia, and those who serve them," the Foreign Ministry wrote. "It is these people who are included in the Russian 'black list.'"

Next on the agenda is a roster for Canadians, according to Tass, the Russian state-owned news agency. The blacklist won't be nearly as long as that for Americans.

"Moscow is set to bar entry permissions for 26 nationals of Canada in response to the country's earlier announced measures," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

The list will include "the spouse of the Canadian prime minister and high-ranking military commanders," Tass said.

The Kremlin did not immediately return a request for comment from Just the News.

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