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Russia's Influence Game
A Glimpse At The Russia Lobby In DC

With the election of Donald Trump shifting traditional Republican views of Putin, Russia is pulling out all the stops to make common cause with conservatives. An article at Time offers a telling glimpse into the Russia lobby’s Republican charm offensive:

Bistro Bis, a swanky French joint on Capitol Hill, is a Washington institution that has hosted all sorts of political summits over the years. But the group that piled into the restaurant’s Leaders Room on the night of Feb. 1 was among the more unusual. For four hours, current and former Russian officials dined with two Republican Congressmen, a conservative magazine publisher, a longtime GOP consultant and a close friend of top White House strategist Steve Bannon.


Some of the officials who attended the dinner–including a deputy central banker and former Russian senator named Alexander Torshin, and his protégée, a young gun-rights activist named Maria Butina–have been part of a years-long campaign to build connections between Russia’s leaders and American conservatives. The crusade, which predates the rise of Trump, has garnered scant attention but achieved significant success, sparking new alliances with leading U.S. evangelicals, lawmakers and powerful interest groups like the NRA.

Among other things, the Time story suggests Moscow’s recognition that traditionally hawkish congressional Republicans pose the main obstacle to Trump implementing a Russia-friendly agenda. And while Russia has long cast a wide net in courting allies, they are noticeably ratcheting up their efforts on the Republican side.

The Time story confirms the talk we’ve been hearing around town: there has been a measurable uptick in Russia lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Read the whole thing.

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  • LarryD

    Yeah, there is potential for, ahem, common cause. The problem is the Russians, specifically Putin, need us to be their rival, and the traditional Russian attitude towards a deal is, it only lasts as long as it’s useful.

  • Joey Junger

    Well, the Left was happy to make common cause with Communist Russia for decades, and when they got called on it, they played martyrs. How about conservatives, rather than denying these charges, work hand-in-hand openly with the Russians and tell everyone else to go screw themselves? The left shouldn’t get to have all the fun and subvert institutions to bring about their vision of the world. What we in the West think of as conservatism (not paying much in taxes, endless wars) doesn’t have much to do with the Russian version (which is collectivist and Christian). Russian conservatism is more compatible with populism than the National Review brand, and I like the idea of being ruled by Putin more than the thought of being ruled by Hillary Clinton.

    I for one welcome our new Russian overlords.

  • Josephbleau

    It used to be so easy for the Russians, all they had to do was donate to the Clinton Foundation.

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