The ban has split public opinion in Russia and provoked rare open criticism from government figures, with even Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaking out against it. But although thousands of people marched through central Moscow earlier this month to protest the ban, a poll published by the Public Opinion Fund in late December indicated that 56 percent of Russians support the move.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the United States was to blame for ongoing diplomatic tensions between Moscow and Washington.
“A tit-for-tat response was not our choice,” Mr. Rybkov told the RIA Novosti state news agency, commenting on the Guantanamo list. “But we were forced to act in similar fashion.”