Just a week after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a sweeping law that will place major restrictions on religious activity, particularly evangelism, in Russia, another incident is now raising eyebrows about that nation’s trajectory. This week Jeff Shell, Chairman of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), was denied access to Russia despite having all appropriate papers for entry. Shell, who is also chairman of NBCUniversal’s film division, was pulled out of an arrival line at Moscow’s Sheremetevo Airport, detained for several hours, and then escorted by Russian security agents to another plane to Amsterdam. He is reportedly now facing a lifetime ban. Voice of America, a news agency overseen by the BBG, reports that the Russian Foreign Ministry believes Shell to be head of a U.S. propaganda outfit and that his expulsion was in response to U.S. actions in an escalating diplomatic confrontation.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: July 15, 2016