MOSCOW — If President Obama plans on dining at the Shatun cafe in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk anytime soon, he can expect a resounding “No borscht for you!”
Mr. Obama also will find himself out of luck if he wants to buy some famous Russian honey in Moscow. A notice on the door of the Myod shop declares: “Sanctions — U.S. President Barack Obama has been deprived of the right to enter this store.”
Angry over U.S. sanctions against Russian officials for the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea, businesses from Siberia to Moscow have been introducing their own tongue-in-cheek measures against Mr. Obama.
In addition, Russian officials have openly joked about the U.S. sanctions, which have been widely seen as ineffective so far.
“The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg and Jackson Pollock,” Kremlin adviser Vladislav Surkov said last week. “I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”
The Obama administration has implemented travel bans against several Russian officials in the wake of the Crimea annexation, and has frozen those Russians’ assets in the United States. Bank Rossiya, which Washington says is the personal bank for a number of senior Russian leaders, also has been hit with U.S. sanctions.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has appeared unfazed by the U.S. censures and has issued his own sanctions against American officials, including Sen. John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner.
Popular support for the former KGB officer has soared in Russia in recent weeks, according to state-run polls. A public opinion survey released last week showed Mr. Putin’s approval rating topping 75 percent.
Far-flung Russian businesses have been eager to reflect the Kremlin’s disdain for the U.S. sanctions.
“U.S. President Barack Obama is categorically forbidden to enter the Irish pub Shannon,” reads a notice pinned to the door of a bar in the central Russian city of Samara.
Moya Vorkuta — the local newspaper in Vorkuta, an Arctic Circle city with a population of 70,000 — is refusing to accept ads of a “private or commercial character” from Mr. Obama or “his representatives.” For good measure, Mr. Obama also is barred from entering the newspaper’s offices at least until U.S.-Russia relations take an upturn.
And it’s not only businesses that have instituted “retaliatory” measures: Some Russians have placed “Obama is barred from getting in my car” notices on their windshields.
The “ban Obama” frenzy is going viral in the Russian-language Internet.
“Obama is banned from stroking this dog,” reads one notice that was uploaded to a popular website.
“Barack Obama is barred from coming within 40 meters of me,” reads a notice held up by a striking blonde in another image.
The U.S. president and “members of the U.S. Congress” have been barred from toilets in offices across Moscow, according to images posted on the Live Journal blogging platform.