Until Ukraine Invasion, Russia Lobbyists Successfully Blunted U.S. Sanctions After Foreign Interventionism

The invasion of Ukraine is not the first time in recent memory that Russian foreign policy has given rise to harsh criticisms in Washington. But it does mark the first time that the Kremlin has been hobbled in its ability to respond through normal D.C. channels — namely, through high-powered K Street lobbyists.

Before its invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin poured hefty sums of money into lobbying in Washington, D.C. The Kremlin itself, state-run companies, and other firms linked to Russia’s leadership frequently used K Street lobbyists in the 21st century to soften the fallout from Russia’s foreign misadventures — often to spare Russian entities from the worst punishments. Now sanctions on the Russian government and Kremlin-linked firms have meant that kind of spending isn’t possible.

Many Russian interests have shifted their lobbying goals to just trying to manage the breakup of the U.S.-Russia relationship.

“With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it became clear that we don’t need lobbyists, we need really good divorce lawyers,” said Julie Newton, a research fellow at the Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre at St. Antony’s College. “Lobbying today is a dialogue of the deaf.”

Read the full article in The Intercept.