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NH AG John Formella is among 500 people added to the latest Russian sanctions list

photo of AG John Formella and Concord Police chief Bradley Osgood
Todd Bookman
In this NHPR file photo, John Formella and Concord Police Chief Bradley Osgood speak at a press conference earlier this year.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has added 500 more Americans to its sanctions list, including New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella, whose role as the state’s top prosecutor gives him no direct involvement in Russian foreign policy.

The sanctions list, published last Friday on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website, appears to have been in response to the latest round of sanctions the U.S. imposed the same day aimed at punishing the country for its invasion of Ukraine.

“It is high time for Washington to learn that not a single hostile attack against Russia will be left without a strong reaction,” the Russian government said.

The new list of Americans now unable to enter the Russian Federation includes Formella, along with a number of other attorneys general from other states, including Robert Bonta of California, Phil Weiser of Colorado, Letitia James of New York and Kathy Jennings of Delaware, among others.

Former President Barack Obama, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger are also on the list.

The Russian government noted that its selection of names is also aimed at penalizing American officials who participated in the “persecution of dissidents” following the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol.

There is no clear link between Formella and federal prosecutors who have brought charges against those who stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“Given the atrocities we are seeing the Kremlin carry out, being blacklisted by Russia is a badge of honor,” said Formella in a statement. “I am proud to vigorously enforce New Hampshire law and will continue to do so despite attempts like this to try and intimidate America’s public officials. This ‘action’ will have no impact on me, my office, or our work.”

Comedian Seth Meyers, who grew up in New Hampshire, also appears on the list, as does MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

New Hampshire’s entire congressional delegation and former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte had been previously named by the Kremlin and are not allowed to enter Russia.

Updated: May 22, 2023 at 5:16 PM EDT
This story was updated with a statement from New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella.
Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University. He can be reached at tbookman@nhpr.org.