Roméo Dallaire, Ottawa prof 'honoured' and 'proud' to be banned from Russia

·3 min read
Roméo Dallaire, a retired lieutenant-general with the Canadian Forces, also served as a senator in Ottawa.  (Laura Leyshon - image credit)
Roméo Dallaire, a retired lieutenant-general with the Canadian Forces, also served as a senator in Ottawa. (Laura Leyshon - image credit)

Balkan Devlen isn't a big name like Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson or retired lieutenant-general Roméo Dallaire.

But like those prominent figures, the Ottawa-based researcher and teacher has joined a growing list of Canadians now banned from entering Russia following the latest round of sanctions announced by President Vladimir Putin's regime.

"It's a badge of honour to be on that list with those very fine people: great Canadians who stood up to the Kremlin's war crimes in Ukraine and elsewhere," Devlen said.

On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry added 61 Canadians — most of them politicians, government officials or members of Canada's armed forces — to what it calls its "stop list," prohibiting them from entering Russia indefinitely.

All are accused of being "involved in the development, substantiation and implementation of the Russophobic course of the ruling regime in Canada," said the ministry.

"I try to do my small bit by highlighting the dangers Putin's regime poses not only to our allies in Europe, elsewhere, but also to Canada and to Canadians," Devlen said.

Frikøbt af kunden fotografens navn skal påføres: RODE IMAGES / Joachim Rode
Frikøbt af kunden fotografens navn skal påføres: RODE IMAGES / Joachim Rode

Devlen directs the Centre in Modern Turkish Studies (MTS) at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. He's also a fellow at the MacDonald-Laurier Institute and acts as a self-described "geopolitical forecaster" for-hire.

Last December, Devlen was among those predicting war given Putin's threats to invade Ukraine. He has also written about Russia in publications such as the National Post.

"Apparently it is sufficiently irritating to the Kremlin," Devlen said. "I am pretty sure there are people here in the Russian embassy that are keeping track of these things. I know some of them are following my work and follow me on Twitter."

Being sanctioned ultimately "pales in comparison" to what Ukrainians are going through, however.

"This is a name on a list. Those people are putting their lives on the line. I'm very, very proud to be, even in a small way, associated or seen in a close proximity to [them]," Devlen said.

Putin regime 'an enemy of humanity': Dallaire

Dallaire, who led the UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, recently called Russia's invasion of Ukraine a "slaughter."

On Thursday he tweeted that he was proud to be on the latest list of banned Canadians.

In an interview with CBC News, Dallaire said he was "honoured" to be considered an enemy of Putin's regime "because they are an enemy to humanity."

"By destabilizing Europe, they're putting at risk so many other countries we were focusing on since the end of the Cold War," he said.

Dallaire said he saw the sanctions as a misguided attempt to influence and distract.

"It just pissed me off more," he said when asked if the move would change anything for him beyond barring future travel to Russia.

"[Fiddling] with this kind of stuff is an indication that they're grabbing at straws, at anything that can draw attention elsewhere."

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