Recently, the Kremlin regiment of lobbyists in Washington came. Two senators - Trent Lott, the former leader of the Republican majority and left the upper chamber in 2007, and Democrat John Breaux, who left the Senate in 2005, now represents the US interests of Gazprombank, the third largest Russian bank, which fell under the sanctions in July last year (executive Order of President Obama №13662). In accordance with the requirements of the law on lobbying (Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995), a pair of ex-senators introduced in Congress registration statement on behalf of the lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs.
Lott and Breaux - experienced lobbyists in the last year working on the former leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate, Tom Daschle, to promote the interests of the television industry, related to medicine and health care, as well as representing the interests of AT & T telecommunications company in the proposed merger with T-Mobile.
"Nothing personal, just business"
Gazprombank, said the Washington Post, addressed to the Russian government with a request for financial assistance in connection with the negative effects of Western sanctions. However, onetemporary bank hired former senators with their public relations firm, and in the second half of 2013 paid another well-known lobbying firm of Ketchum $ 3.7 million (public data center ProPublica, make public all financial statements of the Kremlin and Gazprom's PR).
These documents shall be submitted to the US Justice Department and congressional service in accordance with FARA (Foreign Agent Registration Act) - the law on the registration of foreign agents, taken to the United States in 1938. The law prescribes report all PR activities. Lobbying should be open and transparent to the public sphere of activity. So, in the period since 2006 only "Gazprom" in 2012 of Ketchum paid $ 17 million. Another $ 25 million received from the Russian government spin-doctors. As reported by Reuters, citing a paper obtained by the Ministry of Justice, in 2007, thanks to the efforts of Ketchum, the magazine "Time" recognized "Man of the Year" by Vladimir Putin. The documents recorded numerous meetings with lobbyists magazine staff. Employees PR firm met with representatives of the State Department, trying to achieve a "softer approach" on the issue of violations of the rights of hThe person in Russia, contacted the American journalists who write on these topics. In addition, according to the report Ketchum, PR materials supply site ModernRussia.com (Now ThinkRussia.com).
"The crown of efforts» Ketchum towards Russia is considered to be published in The New York Times under Vladimir Putin's article of opinion in September 2013, where, as noted by journalist Andy Sullivan, the Russian leader is himself a peacemaker in Syria, and America "gives a lecture on how not to behave on the world stage. " Article Putin that "insulted" by John Boehner Speaker of the Congress, has been proposed NYT spin-doctors of Ketchum. The White House also reacted to the publication: Putin benefits from freedom of the press, which is, in America, and that is "available" in Russia.
Russia's actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine have forced American journalists in a new way to look at the question: who receives a salary "of Putin" in the United States? On this account published several articles, investigations.
As it turned out, Ketchum, to actively promote the campaign last year for "promotion" opInskoy Olympics, distribute press releases of "Gazprom" and the Russian Kontinental Hockey League, hired a subcontractor - Alston & Bird, which has a direct relationship to another veteran of American politics - a former Republican senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole and former kongressmenu- Democrat Earl Pomeroy. The company has received from the Russian government in the first half of 2013 of $ 100 thousand. Another subcontractor Ketchum - Venable received at the same time by "Gazprom" $ 168 thousand. Under Venable roof with a salary of $ 28,000 per month (plus travel) employs former Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak.
In a report to the Ministry of Justice task formulated itself Alston & Bird, is as follows: "To collect information and provide advice and analysis on various aspects of international politics, US foreign and foreign economic policy that affect the bilateral US-Russian relations."
How effective is the US business publicists Russia, trying to figure out publication Politico reporter Luke O'Brien. & laquo; today to Russia are worse than in 2006, when the contract was awarded to Ketchum, - the journalist said. - To be effective, the PR should be in some way different from the reality. When a country uses force to re-lay claim to their former territories stifles dissent inside and does business with corrupt worthy of a banana republic, the reality is not particularly conducive to successful PR. One lobbyist who worked for the Russians (who wished to remain anonymous for fear of negative consequences for career), roughly compared his role to "attempts to polish the shit."
Already mentioned subcontracting firm of Ketchum, according to the documents, did quite a bit to work out their fees, by the way, means the Russian taxpayers (and what else can pay the Russian government?). The firm Alston & Bird «currently reported only one case of an appeal to politicians - she got in touch with the three assistants to US officials on the visit of a Russian deputy prime minister." Venable company from 1 November 2010 to 30 April 2014 "sent seven e-mails, etc.Rowell four games, twice called on the phone and held two teleconferences, "- said in the Politico article.
Ketchum, on the way out!
Perhaps, Russia will soon be looking for new PR, the author notes. Ketchum contract with "Gazprom" Last summer was torn. Work under the contract with the Russian Federation - "Now almost a sinecure," writes O'Brien. In a recent statement to Politico Magazine agency Ketchum wrote: "Given the current geopolitical situation, this is a difficult time for the promotion of economic development of Russia, and as a result we do not plan any activities in the United States."
However, someone loses and someone finds. For example, Squire Patton Boggs, lobbying the lifting of sanctions against their client - Gazprombank. In August of last year JSC "NOVATEK" has hired a Washington public relations firm Qorvis to promote their interests in the White House and in Congress, paying "for the service" $ 280 thousand.
However, the development of the situation in Ukraine rather lead to a further tightening of US sanctions regime. This was stated by President Obama in India, it was declared on the basis oftheir meetings Vice President Biden and President Poroshenko of Ukraine. Extension of sanctions against Russia may turn ban the activities of the pro-Russian lobby. While up to this, "it did not come," says Rob Kellner, chairman of Covington & Burling.
But the crisis in the Crimea has stirred lobbyists involved in the promotion of the interests of American customers from the military, energy and space industries. They may tell Putin "thank you" notes Bloomberg News. Lobbyists will not miss no benefit for himself or another major crisis. Around Ukraine around supplies to Europe and generally in American energy, depending on the withdrawal of Russian missiles and rocket engines and other issues, have now become dramatically urgent, bustling lobbies and so-called "special interest groups". "Lobbyists are now at the crest of a large wave caused by the Ukrainian events," - says a political science professor from Kansas Burdett Loomis.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics (Center for Responsive Politics), more than 300 former members of Congress, lobbyists operate. And so forthmove a positive image of Russia it is becoming increasingly difficult. But in the US Congress, there are those who support President Putin, they say, by his heart.
Here, for example, Dana Rohrabacher, Republican Congressman from California, voted last March against the bill on the introduction of sanctions against the Russian Federation and the provision of assistance to Ukraine. A longtime fan of Vladimir Putin, he became the hero of several notable publications of the American press. 16 Republicans voted against the granting of financial aid to Kiev, but they all felt sorry for taxpayers' money. A Rohrabacher and Democrat Alan Grayson of Florida supported the Kremlin "ideologically." Grayson said at the hearings: "We should be happy that at some point on the world map bloodless transition of power has expressed the will to self-determination of two million people."
Thus, in support of Putin's united right-wing ultra-Grayson and Rohrabacher. Republican Congressman from Florida likes to recall that in the mid-1990s, he participated in a friendly match in arm wrestling.The fight took place in one of the Irish pubs in the vicinity of the Congress. After a few pints drunk between congressmen and the Russian delegation, which also includes the then Deputy Governor of St. Petersburg, he entered the dispute, who won the Cold War. The Russian guest proposed to solve the problem in a duel. Rohrabacher did not know that before him a black belt in judo, and lost. A "strong, wiry deputy governor named Vladimir Putin" made indelible impression on him. Rohrabacher recognizes today that Putin has "a lot of shortcomings," but believes that the US "should not attempt to restore it against yourself."
"The churches there are overcrowded"
In 2013, after the terrorist attack in Boston, Rohrabacher visited Russia. He was accompanied by Congressman Steve King and actor Steven Seagal. Trip details were not disclosed for security reasons. On the eve of the visit, I was interviewed by the legislator in his office in Congress. I remember the presence in the room bottle of Russian vodka.
"The Americans did not know that a radical Islamic terrorism Russian parishtsya deal for several decades that Russia suffered heavy losses fighting against Islamic terrorism - the congressman said. - Therefore, the purpose of our visit is in the fact that on his return to help Americans clearly realize that we have a common enemy to Russia. We all remember the events of 11 September, but in the Russian Federation, thousands of people have died from this common enemy hands ... Let's forget, finally, the cold war, and we will fight together against radical Islam that threatens all. And maybe, our country is also to join forces in the face of the growing common threat from China? "
And today, after Crimea, Dana Rohrabacher (incidentally, a former speechwriter for President Reagan) never ceases to support the Russian authorities. Here is what he said at a congressional hearing: "My colleagues do not know what major reform took place in Russia. Church there overwhelmed. Opposition newspapers are available at any newsstand. People can hold demonstrations in the parks. " And on the question of "Pussy Rayot" beaten by Cossacks in Sochi, Rohrabacher just shrugged: "I do not think tacose going there often. There are a lot of people absolutely free entering the demonstration. "
Perhaps Congressman office to apply for a copy of the film instead of vodka "Leviathan", if it is due to congestion will not be able to go to the cinema, which has just successfully hosted the Washington premiere of the film by Andrei Zvyagintsev, the nominee of "Oscar"?
Perhaps Rohrabacher in Putin sees something of his former and very beloved boss Ronald Reagan? The difference is that Reagan achieved the destruction of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War and detente. What made Mr. Putin? Russian Exceptions to the "Big Eight", the deterioration of the country's image and the Russian around the world, the introduction of sanctions, hitting Russia in all possible antireyting: corruption, lack of freedom of the press, and so on? I put the question, because I know - there is a different point of view: getting up from its knees and the return of "spiritual braces".
And Rohrabacher likes to recall how he left the White House at the conclusion of the presidential administration, "with almost empty pockets, but with a thick zapisnoy book with the right phones. " And it helped him very soon to make his own political career. Perhaps, at the end of his tenure on Capitol Hill, Congressman joins the regiment of former colleagues who have become lobbyists. And now one of the Russian newspapers wrote that the statements Rohrabacher - what the Russian lobbyists in Washington can only dream of. That's it!
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