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How professional lobbyists have worked to generate enthusiasm in Washington for a long proxy military conflict in Ukraine

Kiev’s influence blitz in Washington is exposed as revealing Foreign Agent registration figures emerge Slobodan Kolomoets.29 July 22,” …………………

On July 11, Washington DC-based public affairs consultancy Ridgely Walsh registered as a Foreign Agent on behalf of Ukrainian interests with the US Justice Department.

The company – which typically advises Silicon Valley big hitters such as eBay, Google, Snapchat, SpaceX, and Uber – is just the latest Beltway operator to enlist under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA)

Last July, just 11 US-based firms were registered as lobbyists for Ukrainian clients under FARA. Over the course of 2021, these influencers attempted to pressure Washington to kill the Nord Stream 2 project, increase lethal aid shipments to Kiev, and post ever-more US and NATO forces along Russia’s border.

In the process, they amassed over 10,000 contacts with lawmakers, think tanks, and journalists. This is a staggering figure when one considers the Saudi lobby – one of the largest and most influential in the US – had just 2,834 interactions with these elements in the same timeframe.

Lobbying activity on behalf of Kiev over 2022 will inevitably dwarf even that vast total. Now, the number of registered pro-Ukrainian agents in Washington stands at an unprecedented 24, with six being compelled to register in June alone. Strikingly too, many of these companies are providing their services free of charge – to the extent pro bono lobbying for Zelensky’s government has been dubbed the ‘hottest trend’ in Washington DC political circles.

This phenomenon cannot be attributed to generosity of spirit, or altruism. Some lobbyists work for the Ukrainian government without remuneration for a positive PR boost, others to rehabilitate their reputations and remain in favor with US clients after enthusiastically representing Russian corporations prior to the February 24 invasion. As we shall see, there are potentially other, more spectral factors at work in some cases, too.

It is likely many more firms are effectively representing Ukrainian interests than are officially recognized under FARA. Ridgely Walsh only registered in July, after Vox documented its work chaperoning two Ukrainian pilots around Washington, meeting with journalists, senators and representatives, and Defense and State Department representatives. It had been working for the Ukrainian government for over five months by that point.

The FARA filing indicates that Ridgely Walsh engages directly with Yury Sak, adviser to Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov, and Lieutenant Colonel Denis Smazhny, and an appendix in the document sets out the terms of Ridgely Walsh’s work for Kiev.

It states that the company “provides public relations and media relations support to Ukraine, including by engaging with US media representatives, government officials, NGOs, educational institutions, think tanks, investors, and foreign policy experts; arranging media interviews; developing and pitching op-eds; [and] organizing events.” The firm also creates “opportunities for Ukrainians to interact” with journalists, politicians, pundits, and “other sections of the US public.”…………………………..

The constellation of troublemaking initiatives funded by Ribachuk also received significant financing from American oligarch Pierre Omidyar, and US intelligence agency fronts USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which were fundamental to supporting the 2014 Maidan in Kiev. 

Writing in February 2014, veteran journalist Bob Parry noted that the NED had over the previous year funded 65 projects in Ukraine totaling over $20 million, amounting to “a shadow political structure of media and activist groups that could be deployed to stir up unrest when the Ukrainian government didn’t act as desired.”

…………………………………………………  the vast majority of Western media coverage of the conflict has amounted to simply regurgitating Ukrainian statements, without any attempt at fact checking. 

………………………….. Evidently, Washington and Kiev are preparing for a very long war indeed. And a vast army of lobbying firms are ready, willing, and able to make that happen, by deluging the media and legislative chambers the world over with eminently suspect narratives to maintain inexorable and ever-increasingly vast Western arms shipments to Kiev…. 

July 30, 2022 - Posted by | media, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine

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