In Short

Russia’s ban against Oregon’s congressional delegation stirs few waves

By: - May 23, 2022 3:45 pm

President Joe Biden, key members of his cabinet, many members of Congress and others are barred from Russia. (Getty Images)

Oregon’s congressional delegation is permanently barred from entering Russia.

The country’s latest banned list, reported by the Washington Post, includes both of Oregon’s Democratic senators – Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley – and its four Democratic representatives – Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Kurt Schrader and Peter DeFazio. Rep. Cliff Bentz, Oregon’s sole Republican member of Congress, is also on the list.

Nearly 1,000 Americans are banned, including Democratic and Republican members of Congress, President Joe Biden and many members of his administration, some journalists, tech executives, regular citizens – and actor Morgan Freeman. Former Republican U.S. Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Orrin Hatch of Utah are also listed, as is former Democratic Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada even though they’re all dead. 

But former Republican President Donald Trump, who praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, is free to enter Russia. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, is also not on the list, nor is Kentucky’s other Republican U.S. senator, Rand Paul, who was the only U.S. senator to object to aid to Ukraine last week, the Post reported.

For most, the list is meaningless. 

“Being sanctioned by a murderous and fascist regime with so much blood on its hands is fine by me,” Wyden said in a statement to the Capital Chronicle. “I’ve been working hard to punish Mr. Putin and his cronies for their invasion of Ukraine, and I’m glad to see that I’ve gotten their attention.  Thankfully, I have no interest in a trip to Moscow right now – I’ve got a full schedule the next couple weeks in Tillamook, Lincoln City, Medford, Eugene, Bend, The Dalles and Hood River.”

Blumenauer also responded in a statement to the Capital Chronicle: “He has repeatedly called for an end to Putin’s aggression and voted in favor of aid to Ukraine,” spokesman Hunter Spence said about Blumenauer.

And like her colleagues, Bonamici dismissed the ban: “Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and blatant disregard for human life is despicable. Banning members of Congress from entering Russia will not stop our efforts to end this immoral war and hold Putin accountable for the many atrocities he has directed.”



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Lynne Terry
Lynne Terry

Lynne Terry has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including a recent stint as editor of The Lund Report, a highly regarded health news site. She reported on health and food safety in her 18 years at The Oregonian, was a senior producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting and Paris correspondent for National Public Radio for nine years.