The Kremlin has released a list of 963 Americans it has permanently banned from traveling to Russia in retaliation against US sanctions over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Axios reported.
The list is an update to a sanctions list it initially released in March that included President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other administration officials, though the sanctions themselves are largely symbolic, it was reported.
The list, published by the Russian Foreign Ministry, has been significantly expanded to encompass numerous people not involved with the US government, like tech executives and journalists, Axios said.
“In the context of response to the constantly imposed anti-Russian sanctions by the United States and in connection with incoming requests about the personal composition of our national ‘stop list’, the Russian Foreign Ministry publishes a list of American citizens who are permanently banned from entering the Russian Federation,” the ministry said in an accompanying statement.
“We emphasize that the hostile actions taken by Washington, which boomerang against the United States itself, will continue to receive a proper rebuff,” it added.
The list includes three rabbis associated with Agudas Chassidei Chabad (“Aguch”), the umbrella organization for the worldwide Chabad-Lubavitch movement.
Chabad has long sought the return of its historic collection of Jewish and Chassidic books and manuscripts amassed by the Rebbes of Chabad and seized by Russia since the Second World War.
The rabbis who were banned include:
Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, Chairman of the Board of Aguch, is the Rebbe’s Shliach to the White House, Head Shliach of Philadelphia, and founding director of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad).
Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, secretary of Aguch, has served as secretary to the Rebbe for over forty years and is the chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch and Machne Israel, the educational and social arms of Chabad-Lubavitch.
Rabbi Shlomo Cunin, a member of Aguch and of Agudas Chasidei Chabad of Russia, is the Head Shliach and director of Chabad activities on the West Coast of the United States.
Oddly, the list also includes elected officials who have since died such as Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), who died in August 2018, and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who died in April 2021.
The list also mentioned “Nathan Levin, advocate,” which can possibly be Nathan Lewin, the renowned Washington lawyer with a Supreme Court practice who has been representing Chabad in its litigation against Russia.
Other Jewish-sounding names on the list include Avrohom Yitzhak Weisfish (122), Moshe Cohen (383), Ofman Yosef Chaim (910) whom Russia only titles as a “U.S. citizen.” The names seem to be a mystery. Orfman is a member of a non-profit in Los Angeles named “Ohr Avrohom and Eliyahu.” Cohen is a widely popular name and no Google results appear for Weisfish.