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Gazprom’s European Lobbyists

For several years now I have argued that Gazprom enjoys the support of extremely powerful lobbyists in European capitals – the local national energy champions themselves. In exchange for minority stakes in energy production projects, the Russian government often also asks that these companies, such as BP, Eni, Enel, E.ON, and Total, serve as advocates for Russian interests in relations with their home governments. Not a bad strategy, no? Well it seems that I am no longer the lone voice out there bringing up this uncomfortably perilous development. The IHT is running an article today entitled: “Gazprom works to let business partners be its European lobbyists.” Although the article focuses on Gazprom’s reliance on these companies to fend off the European Commission, sources I speak with also mention that the same lobbyists pressure their governments to soften their criticism of Russia’s human rights and democratic shortcomings.