Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger thanked the Russian government on Saturday for including him in its list of hundreds of Americans banned from its country for spreading “Russophobia.”
Raffensperger said in a statement that he was grateful Russia decided to bar him from entering the country.
“My inclusion on this list is deserved, and I appreciate them thinking of me,” he said.
The list released Friday by the Russian Foreign Ministry names 500 Americans no longer allowed to visit Russia. In addition to Raffensperger, former President Barack Obama, late-night host Stephen Colbert, Republican Sens. J.D. Vance, Katie Britt and Eric Schmitt, former ambassadors to Russia John Tefft and Jon Huntsman and 45 U.S. House members were included on the list.
“While I was previously unaware of my anti-Russian activities, I accept the verdict of Russia, whose commitment to truth, justice and the rule of law speaks for itself,” Raffensperger said. “I can see where my commitment to free, fair and accurate elections, my tendency to speak truth to power and strong stance against war crimes would offend President Putin’s sensibilities. I accept that I’m not their cup of Russian tea.”
Raffensperger said he had no intentions of visiting Russia anyway.
Russia’s list comes in response to new sanctions issued by the U.S. amid the war between Russia and Ukraine. The sanctions include tighter restrictions on people and companies involved in the war effort.
The list said it included Americans spreading “Russophobia” or supplying weapons to Ukraine, as well as officials “who are directly involved in the persecution of dissidents in the wake of the so-called ‘storm of the Capitol.'”
Britt, a U.S. senator from Alabama, said in a tweet after learning she was banned from Russia, “I’d say bless [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] heart, but he doesn’t have one.”