Russians ban Senate Leader “Harry Reed” (sic) from visiting Moscow (like he ever would)

The Russian government today banned a number of top US leaders from visiting Russia, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (who the Russians spell “Harry Reed”).

The Russians were apparently confusing Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada with Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island. Which is a bit embarrassing, but also telling.

How do you let your Ministry of Foreign Affairs mix up the name of the guy you’re imposing sanctions on, especially when he’s one of the most well-known names in politics?

And lest anyone claim this was a translation, or more precisely transliteration, error, this wasn’t a translation or transliteration: the Russians wrote Reid’s name in English. When writing someone’s name in their own native tongue, you don’t write it phonetically – you write it correctly. Especially when you’re the Ministry of Foreign Affairs writing on a hugely important issue.  All they had to do was check with the Google. This was amateurish.

There’s a very not-ready-for-prime-time element to all that is Russia.  They invade well.  But that’s about it.

The move was made in response to increasing US sanctions against senior Russians for that country’s invasion and annexation of Ukrainian Crimea.

And the recent US sanctions on Russia, announced today, are reportedly quite strong, targetting Putin’s inner circle:

The names on the latest list of sanctions released by the White House on Thursday read like a who’s who of Vladimir Putin’s innermost circle — ex-KGB colleagues, top advisors and the men believed to hold the Russian president’s personal pursestrings….

The Kremlin must be freaking out….

The first round of sanctions announced by Obama on Monday was symbolic but ultimately toothless… These sanctions are different. They hit as close to Putin without targeting the man himself.

The thing is, who would ever travel to Russia anyway?

In contrast, a number of top Russians, especially the wealthy, like to travel and vacation in both Europe and America, especially New York (and probably San Francisco).  And they’re increasingly being hit by US and European sanctions.

"Harry Reed" can no longer vacation in Siberia.

Per the Russian Foreign Ministry Web site, “Harry Reed” can no longer vacation in Siberia.

Which raises the question of whether there are any sanctions the Russians can impose on America that don’t hurt them even more than us?  No American, other than business people, is interested in traveling to Russia.  Okay, some tourists – but banning them hurts Russia more than us.  American students? Whatever.  So what can Russia actually do to retaliate that doesn’t hurt it even more?

I suppose the Russians could ban the sale of Coke and Pepsi in Russia. But again,that hurts local Russian distributors.

Or the Russians could cut off Apple’s new deal to sell the iPhone via Russian telecommunications giant MegaFon, an affiliate of Russian anti-gay hate site VKontakte, a site that permits neo-Nazis to organize kidnappings of young gays.  But I’d say good riddance – Apple shouldn’t be doing business with Russian oligarch, and friend of Putin, Alisher Usmanov, who controls and MegaFon, in the first place.

So what else?

Here’s Russia’s vewy scawy list of American officials who will no longer be able to take their spring break in sunny Magadan. (“Come for the neo-Nazis, stay for the… well, just stay.”)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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47 Responses to “Russians ban Senate Leader “Harry Reed” (sic) from visiting Moscow (like he ever would)”

  1. cdansreau says:

    i think from that list russia is afraid we will send those people there and not allow them to come back.

  2. 2karmanot says:

    Or stake tatar as bad old Mongol meat (Japan)

  3. kokoretsi says:

    Not to dissent fellow my Hellene, but in 2009 my wife and I visited St. Petersburg and Moscow as tourists. We noticed few, if any, American tourists in Moscow, but St. Petersburg was loaded with Americans enjoying that city’s many sites.
    As far as retaliatory Crimea sanctions go, I think what rhe US imposed yesterday were weak tea. So corrupt Russian oligarchs can’t visit the USA?
    I suspect Pres. Obama plans to ramp them up with more substantial financial penalties over time.

  4. Or not. I’m intrigued by this concept that conservatives aren’t permitted to attempt to get people to defect, but of course liberals aren’t either because we see no need for them to defect from the glorious revolution. It’s a beautiful game, guaranteed to ensure that RT continues helping Putin oppress as many people worldwide as possible.

  5. Ford Prefect says:

    Yes as to the sanctions. They’re symbolic, just as the Rooskie’s response is. McCain doesn’t need to meet with Russian Nazis, since he’s got Ukrainian Nazis on his speed dial. As for kinetic war, we’re playing with fire on that count. It may not be intentional, but neither was WW1.

    Escalating sanctions into more meaningful terms would directly put Americans (and the logistics) at much more risk in Afghanistan. Thus far the response, hysteria aside, is fine.

  6. Bill_Perdue says:

    “No American, other than business people, is interested in traveling to Russia.”

    Whatever gave you that impression. “In 2012, 25.7 million international tourists arrived in Russia and brought US$11.2 billion in international tourism receipts to the country.[2] Including domestic and international tourism, the industry directly contributed RUB860 billion to Russian GDP and supported 966,500 jobs in the country.” Slightly under 180,000 of them were Americans.

    Some were undoubtedly business people, mainly from homophobic organizations like NBC/MSNBC and Coke.

  7. Bill_Perdue says:

    His sanctions are as much a joke as his ‘recovery’ programs.

  8. Bill_Perdue says:

    You’re right about Congress being a criminal organization, as are the Democrat and Republican parties. They exist to enable the rich to steal money in the form of profit and interest.

    But you’re wrong in supposing that since Reid is unindicted he’s not guilty of massive corruption. To get to House you have to be the a criminal in the pay of the rich and to get to the Senate you have to be a major political gangster willing to sell your soul to the highest bidder. Look at Obama, Rand, H. Clinton and Biden. Not one has been indicted.

    Prescott Bush Bush, Joseph P. Kennedy, Henry Ford and Lindbergh were all Nazi collaborators and not one went to jail. American political history after the civil war is a long and tedious history of corruption and political criminality by one lesser evil after another, each one worse than the last. And now we have a President who orders the extra-legal and patently racist murders of Arab/muslim Americans.

    Below: Lindbergh and Goering; Sam Walton, anti-union thug, and an admiring employee; Prescott and George Bush1.

  9. Harshan says:

    There are no spelling bees in German, either. If you try to talk by spelling out the words, they won’t get it. If you ask how to spell a word, they won’t spell it out, they’ll just say something like “with two Ls.”

  10. Harshan says:

    Obama is not trying to start a trade war, or to create a pyrrhic victory by messing up our economy along with theirs. He’s trying to hit the individual politicians in the wallet, and this is a good way to do it.

  11. Harshan says:

    A Russian, working from a Russian-language document, would be back-transliterating the names in the list into the Latin alphabet. The most likely back-transliteration of an English word pronounced and spelled Рид would be Reed. “Read” is obviously wrong, and the spell-checker might correct “Reid” to “Reed.” At least, that’s what my spell checker did.

    This is a pretty tame typo. I’ve seen Americans make wildly hysterical mistakes when they try to spell foreign names in the same alphabet, like the restaurant menu that spelled “steak française” as “steak franchise.” (“I’ll have the steak franchise, hold the seminar”?)

  12. dula says:

    Yeah, neocon hands are all over the coup in Ukraine. Gee, if I started to agree with the agenda of the right wing I would seriously have to rethink the situation.

    “By spurring on the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s elected president, the neocons helped touch off a cascade of events – now including Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and its annexation by Russia – that have raised tensions and provoked Western retaliation against Russia. The crisis also has made the continued Obama-Putin teamwork on Syria and Iran extremely difficult, if not impossible.

    Like other neocon-engineered schemes, there will surely be much collateral damage in this latest one. For instance, if the tit-for-tat economic retaliations escalate – and Russian gas supplies are disrupted – Europe’s fragile recovery could be tipped back into recession, with harmful consequences for the U.S. economy, too.

    There’s also the certainty that congressional war hawks and neocon pundits will press for increased U.S. military spending and aggressive tactics elsewhere in the world to punish Putin, meaning even less money and attention for domestic programs or deficit reduction. Obama’s “nation-building at home” will be forgotten.” -Robert Parry

  13. 4th Turning says:

    They might’ve been thinking of John Reed?
    Could be like our thing-all Reids/Reeds look alike.
    Maybe not, Warren v. Harry-hard to mix those two up.

  14. pappyvet says:

    Come to think of it Dumbling , may I call you dumb? I do wonder how anyone could justify bad behavior through justifying it with an example of someone elses?

  15. DRoseDARs says:

    I’d suggest turning Safe Search off, but I’d fear what you might find then…

    Anyway, Naja below and a few minutes ago from this post just torpedoed Nicho’s silly little claim.

  16. Naja pallida says:

    The primary criminal organization he is affiliated with is called the United States Congress… but the rumors of ties to mafia figures goes back to the 70s, when Reid was on the Nevada Gaming Commission. Allegations that he often looked the other way, or did favors for known organized crime figures have floated around since convicted mobster Joe Agosto testified that Harry Reid was in his pocket during his time skimming money from the Tropicana. Reid also did a real estate deal where he came out significantly ahead, with the Tropicana’s attorney at the same time, Jay Brown. All of the allegations have been investigated, and nothing ever came out of them. Considering how long he’s been on the public dime, and how many elections he’s gone through, surely by now someone would have found something to bring him down. Especially once he became majority leader. That no such evidence has come forth is the best indicator that there likely isn’t much to the allegations.

  17. wearing out my F key says:

    Well, we ride on their to shuttle to get to the space station. Russia is a key partner in negotiations with Iran and Syria. They help in our misadventures in Afghanistan. Russia gave us a big heads up on the Boston marathon bombers- too bad we didn’t follow up. They told us that Iraq was a bad move- didn’t listen to that one, either. Russia is a good friend to have, and we should put Crimea behind us asap.

  18. Ford Prefect says:

    Chances are one reason for the climbdown is the new regime in Kiev has already given up on Crimea, having ordered a military evacuation. That takes most of the wind out of the Neo-Con/Neo-Lib sails, in terms of keeping hostilities on an ever escalating basis. If the Ukrainians don’t want armed conflict, then it’s much more difficult for the US to dictate that one happen.

    At least the WH seems to be on the verge of grasping that now.

  19. Ford Prefect says:

    Given the number of American trans-national corporations doing business in and with Russians, there could be much more serious sanctions. Exxon has a $500 BILLION oil deal with the Russians, for starters. So I’m guessing that’s why Obama is sticking to the toothless stuff, lest his corporate donors get mad.

    Also too, the Russians could stop cooperating vis a vis Iran. With Hillary stating that military options should be “on the table” with respect to Iran, that makes me rather queasy. But maybe that war really is inevitable, when the putative future empress is talking up war well before she even mounts a campaign. Perhaps we’ll see Shock and Awe two-point-D’oh in 2017?

    More immediate, however, is the fact that much of our heavy equipment/goods going into Afghanistan goes through Russia, in order to avoid the Khyber Pass. Close that and supplying the troops and our eventual withdrawal from that country will all have to go through Pakistan, which is something that should be avoided to the extent possible. Airlift capacity has its limits, don’t you know.

    So it’s actually a good thing Obama is climbing down on the rhetoric and sticking with face-saving measures that won’t piss off too many people. I know some here are itching for WW3, but it’s a good thing it looks less likely now, when even John McNasty is admitting there isn’t a military option.

  20. pappyvet says:

    poor dumpling…..or something

  21. Indigo says:

    When it comes to travel bans, the only one I actually care about is the one that keeps me from visiting Havana, Cuba. And that’s not a Russian ban.

  22. pliny says:

    I’d like to think so, but would you recognize half these people?

  23. I just googled. Not finding a heck of a lot, not finding anything, from any sane sources claiming Reid is tied in with the mafia.

  24. Someone that high profile is not going to come here and not get seen, I suspect.

  25. Nice empire you got there. Oh that’s right, you lost the entire thing and now are kind of a third-world backwater. Have a nice day.

  26. cole3244 says:

    well that’s one nation harry can take off his itinerary for now.

  27. kingstonbears says:

    Ah shucks, even “the boner” in on the list.

  28. 2karmanot says:

    At least you got ‘dumbling’ correct.

  29. heimaey says:

    They don’t have them in a lot of languages. I don’t know of one in Spanish. The history behind why we spell is kind of fascinating though.

  30. Guest says:

    Harry Reed’s response to the grotesque, barbarian Nazi wannabes of Russia is expressed in a simple dumbed down way via Grump Cat:

  31. Houndentenor says:

    I once explained what a spelling bee was to a Russian colleague. They have no such thing there. Russian isn’t completely phonetic (there are some exceptions to rules and some voicing/devoicing of consonants in clusters), but close enough that spelling isn’t much of a problem. However, transliterating sounds that don’t exactly correspond to sounds in your own language can be problematic.

  32. DRoseDARs says:

    The *only* references for Harry Reid having ties to the mafia are all from rightwing hackery. If by research you mean making shit up, well then there you go.

  33. Bill_Perdue says:

    They understand a joke, like Obama’s sanctions.

  34. Bill_Perdue says:

    I live in Vegas and no one here, except maybe a few clueless Democrats, doubts the relationship between politicians and mobsters.

    The mobsters are the ones who don’t want to impose austerity on working people.

    You have some interesting bedfellows.

  35. DRoseDARs says:

    Word Salad that’d make Sarah Palin blush.

  36. heimaey says:

    I love how they use the same letter for the “Y” in Harry and the “ee” in Reed, which is the same sound so duh… English is such a mess.

  37. BeccaM says:

    We’re now in the diplomatic tit-for-tat phase of reactions. U.S. imposes sanctions, Russia is all but compelled to impose counter-sanctions. U.S. issues some more, Russia responds again in kind.

    Apparently, Monday’s sanctions were all but laughed off by the Russians. Whether it was planned or not, this second round hits closer to home, with respect to Putin’s inner circle of plutocratic oligarchs.

    Personally, I would expect there will soon be a second round of counter-sanctions from Russia, similarly escalating the importance of the individuals named. That is to say, it’ll include people who actually do care whether they can travel to or do business with Russia.

    But what the hell, at least it’s better than imminent military hostilities between Russia and NATO… for now.

  38. BeccaM says:

    Guess you don’t read the Nevada papers, huh? And that was an incredibly gratuitous cheap shot.

  39. nicho says:

    On-air resignation of RT anchor was a right-wing “think tank” setup, using a disgruntled employee who had been disciplined for unprofessional behavior and was looking for a way out. Apparently, she got it and is now the darling of the Obama war machine pom-pom squad.

  40. nicho says:

    What a mind-numbingly stupid statement. Harry’s association with the mob has been well documented. It’s called research. Try it some time.

  41. Naja pallida says:

    Travel bans and visa restrictions on individual people are nothing but a petty game. There’s nothing strong about them at all, in fact quite the opposite. It is essentially saying: We can’t do anything to stop you, so we’re going to harass your friends. Putin’s response, however amateurish, is essentially laughing at us in the same way you’re laughing at them. They don’t have much need to come here either. Until real sanctions are imposed and the foreign assets of Russian businesses are seized, and their ability to bank outside of Russia is blocked, the little political games mean nothing.

  42. BeccaM says:

    That’s one of the finest examples of blog comment gibberish I’ve seen since, well, yesterday.

  43. Dumbling says:

    Spelling means £%$&9….so what ? Many Americans do business with Russia,they are not stupid to ban the radical mcain,America has lost its world domination by being appalling .The worst I have ever your match,warning!!! fire no shot because the world will come to an end.

  44. pliny says:

    You assume the Russians take the idea of sanctions seriously. What’s to stop them from travelling with fake (printed on the real equipment at reasonable prices, no doubt) passports ?

  45. Drew2u says:

    The BBC has an article up talking about a new part of Ukraine that allegedly wants to go to Putin:

  46. mtblaze says:

    I don’t have an in with the Vegas Mafia like you seem to have.

  47. nicho says:

    Harry would do anything for a buck. Just ask the Mafia in Las Vegas.

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