The Russian blacklist of 89 nonentities was a “gesture of trust”

The Russian “blacklist” of 89 inconsequential EU politicians and bureaucrats banned from entry (a German list from the Finnish site YLE) is here.

Russian blacklist of EU politicians

Most of those on the list have been quite noisy in their condemnation of Russia over Ukraine – but interestingly most are also ineffective nonentities. It has, for example Nick Clegg, Swedish MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, former Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg and the EU’s former enlargement chief Stefan Fule on the list. Many are already past it. They could all cease their work tomorrow and not many in Europe or in Russia would even notice. All fairly inconsequential people and not even of very high profile.

So why would the Russians bother to ban such a group of unimportant nonentities?

They say it was as “a gesture of trust” that the list was not published openly and only provided through diplomatic channels. Considering that no-one of any significance is on the list it could even be taken as a “gesture of goodwill”! I suspect it was just part of the diplomatic “game”.

Nothing more than tit-for tat – a game of idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Russian Tass reports

Moscow confirms it has sent to the European Union’s countries a list of persons who were denied entry to Russia but says it would prefer to refrain from comments on personalities, a high-ranking official at the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday. …. Russia recommended long ago that envoys of those countries which imposed sanctions on the Russian Federation should apply to Russian consular offices before their trips for specifying whether they are barred from entering the country, he said.

“However, our partners preferred not to do so and asked to notify them through diplomatic channels,” he said. “In line with this, the above-mentioned lists were sent to them.”

“[The lists] were handed to our European partners as a gesture of trust and their publication may weigh on the conscience of corresponding sides,” he said. “Just one thing remains unclear: did our European co-workers want these lists to minimise inconveniences for potential ‘denied persons’ or to stage another political show?” he said.

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