Washington Free Beacon founding editor Matthew Continetti is banned from entering Russia, the Kremlin announced on Friday, a move Continetti attributes to his unwavering defense of freedom in the face of Vladimir Putin's aggression.
Continetti, 41, is among 500 Americans that the Kremlin said Friday are barred from entering the country in response to Biden administration sanctions. Others include former secretary of defense Jim Mattis, Senator J.D. Vance (R., Ohio), as well as less illustrious figures like former president Barack Obama, Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison, and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough. Politico Playbook, an influential political newsletter, called being on the list the "new status symbol" in Washington, D.C.
"It is high time for Washington to learn that not a single hostile attack against Russia will go without a strong reaction," the Russian Foreign Ministry declared in a statement.
Continetti, an author and senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said Monday on the Commentary magazine podcast that he's honored to be included on the list. "What I like about this honor most is that my name comes before Barack Obama's," he said.
He speculated that the ban stemmed from his Feb. 3 column advocating for the release of Russian political prisoner Vladimir Kara-Murza, who remains in jail for criticizing Russia's invasion of Ukraine in a speech to the Arizona House of Representatives.
"Let’s be clear about what is going on here. Kara-Murza is no oligarch. He is not a foreign agent. Nor is he a saboteur. He is a writer and a filmmaker who holds British and Russian passports. He’s an activist who committed the 'crime'—one flinches at calling it that—of stating his views in public on a matter of global concern. In Russia today, voicing a dissenting opinion makes you an enemy of the state," Continetti wrote.
"Real justice will be served when Kara-Murza is freed," Continetti continued, "and [Russian president Vladimir] Putin is punished for his crimes against mankind."