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K Street Bets on Putin

2:32 PM, Mar 17, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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It comes as no big surprise that K Street has no plans to impose sanctions on Russia … or itself.

As Kevin Bogardus at the Hill reports

The public relations giant Ketchum has earned more than $26 million representing Russia, and is keeping the country as a client despite the widely denounced incursion into Crimea by the Russian military.

It is a long-standing business relationship, after all, that has withstood previous crises like that unpleasantness over Georgia and:

Ketchum has worked for the Russian government since 2006 ... it helped the country prepare for the Group of Eight Summit in St. Petersburg … and media rollout for Putin's 2007 "Person of the Year" award by Time Magazine and contacted The New York Times last year about an op-ed written by the Russian president, according to Justice Department records. 

Well, one person’s strongman is another person’s valued client.  And business is business. K Street is an easy target but it is not alone in considering self-interest in the present crisis.  France is building warships for the Russians and one wonders if Paris will cancel the contracts as a way of showing Vladimir Putin that the West means business.

In the coming days, one can expect the sanctions to be finely calibrated by the practitioners of Smart Power so as to insure the least possible disruption to business-as-usual.  

Russia is playing hardball while the West is playing chess.

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