We offer a critique of conventional approaches to entrepreneurial barriers and point to the neglect of social and emotional processes in their operation. Drawing from qualitative interviews with 25 entrepreneurs in Russia, we suggest that power rituals between entrepreneurs and state officials may impair entrepreneurial motivation. Our main contribution lies in conceptualizing barriers not simply as objective obstacles but as processes of barring, and in exploring how these might emerge. We elaborate a model of the social nature of barriers and the mediating role played by emotions. We discuss the implications of barring for entrepreneurial action more broadly.