On Saturday, May 21, the Russian Federation announced a list of “Citizens of the United States under personal sanctions, including prohibition from entering the Russian Federation”. Included are 963 U.S. citizens, including the President, Vice President, most Members of the U.S. Congress, U.S. Senators and a large number of government employees, politicians, academics, journalists and civil society leaders.

According to the state-controlled Russian News Agency TASS, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that the sanctions were “retaliatory measures for the anti-Russian sanctions” that the U.S. has been implementing against Russia. It added that the persons named in Russia’s new list represented “U.S. citizens who are permanently barred from entering the Russian Federation,” and that the individuals were put on the list as they “foment Russophobia, and those who serve them,” hence being “put on Russia’s ‘blacklist.’”


Among those sanctioned is Julia Davis, the foremost U.S. expert on Russian government-controlled television and propaganda. Only hours before, the Kyiv Post had published a feature interview with Davis in which she described Russia as having “already lost this war and lost itself in the process.”

When asked by the Kyiv Post how she felt about being sanctioned by the Kremlin, Davis said that “first of all, I’m in great company and honored to have been included.”

Rather than being worried about the lifetime ban from traveling to Russia, the most sanctioned country in the history of the world, Davis struck a defiant tone, stating:

“These sanctions are a symptom of helplessness exhibited by Putin’s regime. They will end when Russia is finally released from his clutches. Most importantly, my work is based on exposing the Kremlin and its mouthpieces, based on their own words and deeds. I watch and report what they do and what they say, unveiling their lies and misdeeds for the world to see. Being sanctioned for that means that they can’t handle the truth.”


Kyiv Post friend and contributor, Swedish economist and Senior Atlantic Council Fellow, Anders Aslund, is on the list. He tweeted: “Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published a list of 963 US citizens who have been banned to enter Russia. I am honored to have been included in this illustrious list.”

Also sanctioned is Ukrainian-American organizer Andrew Futey. According to the Russian Ministry’s Sanction List, he was included due to his affiliation with the American Committee of the Ukrainian Congress, the Ukrainian World Congress and for being the Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Ohio. Futey commented that he is “not at all upset about being sanctioned” and added “I had no plans to be vacationing in Siberia anytime soon!”

He added: “The sanctions in effect show that we have been effective and that we have a community that can really make a difference for Ukraine. We are defending Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and I have spent my entire life working to support Ukraine, including by helping [the country] to get into the EU and NATO. Today’s announcement by Moscow shows that we are doing an effective job.”


This view was supported by U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio – another name on the sanctions list –who tweeted that Futey’s sanctioning demonstrated that Futey was “Ohio strong. Pro freedom. Pro democracy. Pro Ukraine.” and that he was “so proud to call Andrew Futey a friend. This is leadership folks.”

Russia’s list had several errors, including naming people who had not worked at the cited organization in years, and others who had died (namely, Senator John McCain and Senator Orrin Hatch) which indicates that Saturday’s list may have been compiled in a hurry from other lists that the Russian Government had compiled earlier.

When Shelly Han, a former employee of the U.S. Congress’ Helsinki Commission was asked how it felt to be sanctioned by the Putin Regime, she responded: “It would be funny because I haven’t been at the Helsinki Commission for six years.” Upon learning that she had been included on the list, Han asserted that the entire situation was quite humorous to her and that she certainly did not feel that it was a bad thing to be among those sanctioned.

Walter Zaryckyj also expressed humor in finding out that he was sanctioned and quipped to the Kyiv Post that “knowing that one has gotten under Putin’s skin enough to end up on his enemies list means that one is doing something right in life. A worthy badge of honor like winning the lottery and sharing it with 930 people.”


Despite Russia’s attempt to strike fear among Americans by publishing the new list on Saturday, not one of the people interviewed for this article expressed any sentiment of regret or sorrow, but rather joy or agreement, in being officially recognized as an opponent of the Putin Regime.

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