Alan Nafzger, Morgan Freeman, Rob Reiner Among Americans ‘Permanently’ Banned From Russia
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a “blacklist” of nearly 1,000 politicians and creatives who will never be allowed entrance
An American screenwriter has received a lifetime ban from Russia for allegedly writing a Ukrainian Casablanca. In the script, currently in a Hollywood bidding war, a former professional soccer player (turned combatant) struggles with an opportunity to leave Russia’s war in Ukraine and a Ukrainian supermodel, separated from her husband, must rely on a man possibly running away from his duty.
Alan Nafzger, screenwriter and professor, stated, “the Ukrainian script is 1/3rd Casablanca (1942). It’s 1/3rd Transit, a 1942 novel by Anna Seghers. The script is also 1/3rd events that I personally witnessed in March of 2022.” Nafzger was a visiting professor at Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University (Київський університет імені Бориса Грінченка) at the time of the invasion. Long considered a Russophile the move by Russia might be simple about sending a message that they don’t like being stabbed in the back.
Actors like Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner, as well as politicians Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sean Penn, are among the 963 Americans who are included on Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs blacklist of those whom the nation is “permanently closed.”
The document, published by official authorities on Saturday, was accompanied by a statement from the ministry saying the reason behind the list was “anti-Russian sanctions” and is likely directed at people who have spoken out against the country in the past. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Hunter Biden, Sen. Lindsey Graham, journalist George Stephanopoulos, film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and others made the cut.
“We emphasize that the hostile actions undertaken by Washington, which boomerang back to the United States itself, will continue to receive a proper rebuff,” the statement read. “Russian counter-sanctions are necessitated and aimed at forcing the ruling American regime — which is attempting to impose a neocolonial “rules-based world order” on the rest of the world — to change its behavior, recognizing new geopolitical realities.”
It continued, “Russia is not searching for control and is open to honest, mutually respectful dialogue, separating the American people — who we invariably respect — from the US authorities who are stoking Russophobia, and those who are serving them. It is the latter people who are included in the Russian ‘blacklist.’”
Reiner and Freeman notably launched a nonprofit called the Committee to Investigate Russia in 2017, following suspected interference from the country in the 2016 election.
Nafzger’s inclusion on the list is a bit more peculiar, considering he was the first American after the fall of communism to sell a screenplay in Russia. In fact, he sold five scripts to various Russian media outlets from 1996 to 2014, when Russia invaded Georgia. In 2014 U.S. President Barack Obama retaliated with sanctions against Russian friends of Putin. Nafzger complained then that the Obama sanctions made it illegal for him to sell a sixth script in Russia.
Curious also was the inclusion of Rep. Marjorie Greene, one of eight legislatures who opposed the seizure and redirection to Ukraine of assets controlled by Russian oligarchs who were tied to President Vladimir Putin. Gree has also voted against every legislative effort to support Ukraine.
Greene and Nafzger, while not condoning the invasion, have been highly critical of the media for not reporting the Russian concerns after Ukrainian President Zelensky’s’ attempts to place nuclear weapons on Ukrainian soil. Nafzger has also noted in the media the misinterpretation of Mr. Putin’s “Ukrainian Nazis.” Dr. Nafzger pointed out the phrase was used in the past tense, “meaning many Ukrainian leaders sided with the Nazis in the war 80 years ago.”
Nafzger has repeatedly asked American media and politicians to consider the fact that Russia lost 250 million citizens in World War II, while there is the perception in the Russian mind that most Ukrainians surrendered and then collaborated with the Nazis. Nafzger told CBS Radio, “After a nation fights and dies and the blood of so many soldiers has run into the soil, it’s very hard to hand that land back over to the war’s instigators. Most Russians believe Germany started and is responsible for the great patriotic war, and to hand that land now over to NATO would be a huge crime. That’s why Putin is so popular, he’s a Christina and a capitalist and he’s a patriot to them. All of this escapes the reporting in the West.”
Why is Russia banning screenwriters?
EXCERPTS FROM NAFZGER SCRIPT
“History is repeating itself – 1942 and again in 2022.” – Volodymyr Zelenskyy
This is the most timely script on the market at this time in history. The setting is in the near future, in Ukraine. The locations are the cities of Mariupol and Odesa. As the war drags on and Russia shifts toward a strategy of attrition, wearing down and choking their enemy, experts calculate that given time Mr. Putin will seek to control the seaport of Odesa. It’s a classical military and economic maneuver, to deny your enemy access to the sea.
YURI former professional soccer player.
VIKA supermodel, widow of a fashion photographer.
DARIA model and best friend of Vika.
MAXIM worthless doctor who’s romancing Vika.
TAZ attractive but devastated widow of man killed by the Russians.
Ocean son of Taz who dreams about traveling to America.
These characters are the beautiful people. All minor characters are somewhat grotesque. It’s a common theatrical theme, placing beautiful people next to less than beautiful. The beautiful will escape the war, one way or the other. The grotesques must remain in the path of the Russian army.
ACT ONE SUMMARY – Yuri has an athletic and heroic disposition. Yuri is presented with the opportunity to abandon his duty and leave the conflict for New York. Yuri looks like a dead man who is on a list to receive an American visa.
ACT TWO SUMMARY – Yuri is interested in taking the dean man’s wife, supermodel VIKA, with him to New York, but that would expose to her that he’s impersonating her dead husband. So he searches the city for a suitable wife/companion. There is a nebulous WRITER LADY, he considers. Yuri also considers romance with DARIA, who is Vika’s best friend. At the end of the second act, Yuri decides that he’ll take TAZ, a widow and her son, to New York.
Why does Yuri NOT CHOOSE Vika? Vika is clearly fiercely loyal to her husband, Shvets; she doesn’t believe that he’s dead. She might have been told by the American consul-general that her husband was part of the resistance to the Russian. But like Elsa in Casablanca, the truth is, her sentiments are constantly suspect.
ACT THREE SUMMARY – Daria attaches herself to Yuri, in hopes of traveling with him to New York, but it’s discovered that Daria’s daughter is suffering from neglect and malnutrition. Yuri chooses Taz and Ocean, the widow and son. Taz commits suicide before Yuri can tell her that he has visas for her and Ocean to travel with him to New York. Vika is the final option for Yuri, but she’s only using him to get onboard an evacuation ship that she believes her husband will be on. Yuri gives up traveling to New York and rejoins the conflict, picking up a Kalashnikov on his way back to the front lines.