US media is reporting that Russia is pouring millions into foreign influence and lobbying operations targeting the US amid the escalating conflict in Ukraine. In 2021 alone, foreign agents working for Russian state media outlets spent $34.8 million on propaganda targeting the US. According to an investigation by OpenSecrets:
February 2, 2022 As tensions escalate between Russia and Ukraine, Russia is pouring millions of dollars into foreign influence operations and propaganda. Russian interests reported spending about $182 million on lobbying, foreign influence operations and propaganda in the U.S. since 2016, according to OpenSecrets’ analysis of Foreign Agents Registration Act and Lobbying Disclosure Act data. Foreign agents working for Russian state media outlets spent $34.8 million on propaganda targeting the U.S. in 2021 alone. Companies whose interests align with Russia’s have spent heavily on lobbying around Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which would deliver Russian natural gas to Germany while bypassing Ukraine. In the midst of the multi-million dollar lobbying fight, President Joe Biden waived sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in May 2021 and administration officials reportedly made calls urging senators to quash Nord Stream 2 sanction measures unless the White House has the power to waive the congressionally-mandated sanctions.
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The report notes that the Russia-Ukraine conflict mostly plays out in lobbying related to the Nord Stream pipeline, with foreign companies linked to the project having spent more than $6.8 million lobbying against sanctions and other issues related to the pipeline project since the start of 2020.
In October, the Global Influence Operations Report reported that Russian media outlets have spent more than $146 million on foreign influence operations and propaganda in the US since 2016. We have also extensively covered Russia’s influence and disinformation operations amid the Ukraine conflict.