Lists of Russian lies
Everyone composes lists — laundry, grocery, best books, favorite songs, most beautiful women. The Great American Songbook is full of "list songs," catalogues of people, places, and events, often humorous.
In politics, the Kremlin has a long history of compiling lists, and often disposing of its members in gulags, Siberia, or simply death.
Russia, on March 1, 2022, issued a list of states it considers "unfriendly," countries that have taken unfriendly action against Russia, Russian companies and citizens. The countries alphabetically range from Australia to the U.S. It is not obvious why San Marino, the small republic, landlocked microstate with a population of 34,000, is one of the "unfriendly."
Russia is active on both attack and counterattack. Russian counteractions and sanctions are supposedly aimed to force others, particularly the U.S. regime to change their behavior and to recognize "new geopolitical realities." Its first list of people to be banned from Moscow contained only 29 names, including President Joe Biden and some White House officials. The list was expanded and increased as U.S. and international sanctions were imposed on Russia.
This ban was pointless, since no U.S. official was planning to visit Moscow or St. Petersburg. On the contrary, to be on the ban and included in the list was regarded as a badge of honor, a symbol of political importance. Moreover, the individuals mentioned in the ban are more likely to increase rather than to reduce political support for Ukraine.
In response to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's strong public support for Ukraine, Russia in April 2022 announced that it was sanctioning about 300 British members of Parliament accused of "Russophobia." Also persona non grata are foreign secretary Liz Truss, defense minister Ben Wallace, and Canadian P.M. Justin Trudeau.
On May 21, 2022, Russia, keen on investigating the U.S., issued a second list of 963 banned American individuals in retaliation to the increasing U.S. and international sanctions imposed on Russia.
The person who has attracted the most attention is the respected actor Morgan Freeman. Apparently, he appears due to his action in 2017, when, together with Rob Reiner (director of the comedy When Harry Met Sally), he launched a nonprofit organization, the Committee to Investigate Russia, following alleged interference by Russia in the 2016 presidential election.
John McCain, Navy pilot and senator from Arizona, who died of brain cancer in 2018 at age 81; Harry Reid, longest Democrat in office in Nevada, Senate majority leader, who died in 2021 at age 82; and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), longest serving Republican senator, in April 2022, aged 88 were also banned.
The 963 list draws from both political parties. In the House, it includes Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia) and Matt Gaetz (Florida) and Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (Minnesota).
In the Senate, it includes Republicans Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), Ted Crux (Texas), and Marco Rubio (Florida) and Democrats Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota) and Dianne Feinstein (California).
Some prominent journalists are mentioned. Among them are Susan Glasser of the The New Yorker, Bret Stephens of the N.Y. Times, and David Ignatius of the Washington Post.
When Russia uses a word, it means just what Russia chooses it to mean. It now states that it is a crime to use the words "war" and "invasion" to refer to what the Kremlin calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine. Moscow purports to be "liberating" Ukraine and its Jewish president from the Nazis, and from those Ukrainians faking images of buildings supposed to have been destroyed by air strikes.
It is saddening to read the sick humor of the Russian foreign ministry: "Russia does not seek confrontation, and is open to honest, respectful dialogue." Perhaps the next list to be issued by the Kremlin will include invitations to bid on the purchase of the Brooklyn Bridge.