Why is placing Russia on a list of terrorism-supporting countries different from normal sanctions? The designation automatically prohibits a wide range of exports, credits, guarantees, and export licensing, and requires validated export licenses (with an implied presumption of denial) for trade in goods or technology controlled by the U.S. government for national security or foreign policy reasons. But that is probably not the main reason that Russia would abhor such a label.
The symbolic nature of the list, its reservation for extreme cases, would strike at Russia’s self-image and the grand pretense it displays to the world. To be placed as an outcast among a small collection of basket-case countries run by religious fanatics and the relatives of previous dictators would be deeply humiliating to Russia’s national pride in a gut-wrenching way that simply tightening their belts due to economic sanctions would not.
America’s diplomats should warn the Kremlin now that by invading Ukraine they will place on themselves the label of a terrorist backwater, to be shunned like North Korea, Syria, and the other small and small-minded outliers of the 21st century."