Yale News

The Russian government has permanently banned Yale economics professor Larry Samuelson from entering the country, according to a press release sent out by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Samuelson’s name is, as of March 14, included on a list of 227 Americans who are banned from entering Russian territory due to their alleged involvement in “conceiving, carrying out and justifying the anti-Russia policy” adopted by the United States government as well as those “directly involved in anti-Russia undertakings.”

“I was quite surprised,” Samuelson wrote the News upon appearing on the list. “It must be a very long list indeed in order for me to come to their attention.”

Samuelson specializes in economic theory with an interest in game theory. Since 2018, he has been a member of the International Advisory Board of the Kyiv School of Economics. Samuelson speculated that his association with the Ukraine-based university was the reason for his addition to the list.

The Russian government has placed an entry ban on over 2,000 American citizens since the United States began imposing economic sanctions on the government in the wake of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. The list includes — but is not limited to — elected officials, journalists, academics and business leaders. 

The latest round of bans, in particular, appears to target academics. Sixty-seven of the 227 individuals named on the list are affiliated with a U.S.-based university. Samuelson suggested that this is because the list was constructed based on online information, and academics typically have an easily identified online presence. 

Yale’s spokesperson declined to comment for this story.

David Cameron, a professor of political science and director of the Yale program in European Union Studies, pointed out the seemingly arbitrary nature of the names on the list. He noted that there are “a few people on the list who know a lot about Russian politics and international relations,” but also many knowledgeable people on the subject who have been left off.  

“There’s no obvious explanation why they’re on it and others who might be on it aren’t on it,” Cameron said. “It’s no doubt the work of some not very bright low-level functionaries in the Russian Foreign Ministry who were told to come up with a list.”

According to Cameron, the list is further evidence that “smart people in Russia” with an interest in international relations are concentrated in the Foreign Intelligence Service, an externally focused intelligence agency, rather than the Russian Foreign Ministry.

In November 2022, in one of the earliest rounds of Russian entry bans, Yale history professor Timothy Snyder was one of 200 U.S. citizens whose name appeared on the list.

The Yale Economic Growth Center was founded in 1961.

Ben Raab covers faculty and academics at Yale and writes about the Yale men's basketball team. Originally from New York City, Ben is a sophomore in Pierson college pursuing a double major in history and political science.