The Russian government released a list of countries it deemed “unfriendly," saying that all corporate deals with companies and individuals from these countries, a list that includes the United States, the United Kingdom, and, of course, Ukraine, would be subject to a government commission's review.
The complete list includes Albania, Andorra, Australia, Great Britain—including Jersey, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, European Union member states, Iceland, Canada, Liechtenstein, Micronesia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, San Marino, North Macedonia, Singapore, United States, Taiwan, Ukraine, Montenegro, Switzerland and Japan.
While the inclusion of countries like the United States and Ukraine are unsurprising, the inclusion of smaller nations like Monaco, Montenegro and Liechtenstein left many social media users baffled.
Even more baffling was the Russian government's decision to include Taiwan on its list of "unfriendly" countries considering that China, Russia's biggest ally, does not acknowledge Taiwan's sovereignty.
While the Russian government's list explicitly targets nations that have openly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent move to invade Ukraine, some of the reasons why it included others might not be so apparent to the average onlooker.
Take San Marino's inclusion, for example. While the reason for its inclusion is still unclear, the European microstate, which is landlocked by Italy and covers a land area of just over 24 square miles, is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with an economy that is largely based on finance.
The Sammarinese government also considers Russia a valuable partner and relied on it to furnish the tiny nation with vaccines when it risked becoming the last country in Europe to begin inoculating its citizens against COVID-19.
It has also long served as a tax haven for the European elite and has likely seen its relations with Russia affected after the European Union, the United States, and its allies agreed to impose a partial ban on Russian banks from using SWIFT, an international payment system used by thousands of financial institutions.