The problem Russia has today in its relationship with the European Union is that  Europeans and especially European decision-makers are not hearing Russia’s side of the argument. They instead hear a one-sided media mantra that categorically assigns Russia the role of the bad guy in international relations. If Russia wants to effectuate change in the European Union and EU foreign policy towards Russia, then it starts with having a pro-Russia lobby in the EU dedicated to that mission.

With a pro-Russia lobby to educate lawmakers, build connections and relationships, submit articles to leading media outlets, organize and attend events, provide policy recommendations, and make the intellectual case for Russia-friendly policies, Russia could change the course of history towards cooperation, stability, and a mutual respect for interests. A pro-Russia lobby could rewrite the future to entail collaboration in fighting terrorism and maintaining regional stability. And instead of an EU foreign policy that shows total disregard for Russia’s interests, a pro-Russia lobby could foster a future of mutual respect.

Today the European media paints Russia as the great divider, the great sower of discord. Propaganda has too often shaped the debate on Russia-West relations, and such distortions have helped drive the adversarial relationship. Negative public attitude is often exaggerated. Russia has no intention to sever ties to the West completely.

Russia is a constant target of economic sanctions and diplomatic expulsions, bellicose political rhetoric, and calumnious headlines that adversely affect Russia’s ability to grow economically and develop any sort of positive relationship with the European Union.

European discourse often features Russia as the topic of conversation, but genuine Russian voices are almost nowhere to be found. This means that despite Russia having intellectually defensible and even appealing policy positions that can appeal to reasonable people, few if any people in the European Union are actually hearing those arguments. Instead, Europeans routinely hear a one-sided onslaught of disinformation that paints Russia as an evil, irrational actor with the sole purpose of “dividing the European Union ” for the sake of countering European Union which is simply not the case. That one-sided presentation of Russia with no counterbalance has had a huge impact on Russia-EU relations. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the battle over public opinion, where Russia has been on the losing end of a PR war that rages on and has real implications for EU foreign policy.

Without a lobby to advocate and advance its positions, Russia has little chance of turning the tide towards more favorable relations with the European Union. Without a pro-Russia lobby to make well-reasoned arguments, the European  public will never be persuaded to change course.

Russia must start to exert constructive influence on EU policy for the sake of stability and predictability in relations with the EU. Better relations between the EU  and Russia is something that both sides can and will benefit from. With more collaboration and less hostility, Russia and the EU can achieve more peace, security, and prosperity for themselves and for other countries across the world.

A pro-Russia lobby would be dedicated to developing and strengthening the relationship between the European Union  and Russia by promoting the interests and security of both sides. The goal should be to educate and inform the European public on issues related to Russia, and in doing so provoke constructive dialogue that might shift the public’s perception of Russia and effectuate better policies. This can be achieved by attending conferences/forums and organizing university-based events across the European Union where pro-Russia policies can be advanced on the grassroots level. This also means presenting the Russian perspective in ways it previously hasn’t been presented, which means submitting articles to leading media outlets, appearing on podcasts and radio, and organizing issue-based campaigns.

Organizing and funding an organization to lead the way in lobbying for Russia’s interests in the European Union would not require a huge investment, but the potential return on that investment could be colossal especially if that organization could convince European lawmakers to lift the multitude of sanctions currently haunting the Russian economy. Seen from that perspective, an investment in a pro-Russia lobby would also be an investment in the Russian economy, the Russian people, and a better future for both Russia and the EU.

Russia remains ─ despite the recent fallbacks ─ an indispensable part of European civilization. Both the EU and Russia must propose the outlines of civilized relations, including the observance of agreed upon rules and norms of communication. What Russia needs is not a frail and fragmented, but rather an efficient and cohesive EU for successful cooperation on the large number of international issues, not least as a counterbalance to the USA or China, as well as it needs the EU as a major economic and technological partner. The EU, predictably, will remain critical of Moscow concerning human rights and domestic governance issues. But Russia was and will remain a key European state and thus an inevitable partner and interlocutor for the European Union despite all persistent problems in their relations ─ and this requires a certain level of good faith and optimism.

How should a pro-Russia lobby go about effectively promoting Russian interests in the European Union, in a political climate thoroughly hostile to Russia? What should be the strategy? And what key activities should this lobby focus on? Given the current state of affairs, the goals for a pro-Russia lobby should be to:

(1) Educate and inform the European public of Russia’s positions.

(2) Provoke dialogue that features Russian voices.

(3) Shift public opinion to view Russia & Russia’s policies more favorably.

(4) Make a tangible impact on policy that strengthens areas of cooperation and deescalate tensions

Political Outreach: Effectively promoting Russian interests in the European Union  should start with broad-based political outreach. This means meeting with European  politicians, sharing and submitting policy proposals on key issues, and promoting Russia friendly politicians who will vote and introduce legislation that is friendly to Russia. The pro-Russia lobby formula for success will be to operate legally by the book, maintain independence, and frame advocacy in the best interest of the European Union. The pro-Russia lobby will operate with total independence from Russia. Naturally, the best way to win over support from politicians who love their country is to point out to them why partnership and cooperation with Russia is good for their country. When meeting with and providing policy recommendations to European policymakers, a pro-Russia lobbying organization will need to frame those policies as policies that are going to be beneficial to the EU and consistent with EU values.

Media Outreach: A major challenge to Russia-EU relations is the onslaught of disinformation and negative media directed toward Russia and issues involving Russia. To mitigate this challenge, a pro-Russia lobby would have to take the problem head-on through media outreach that is designed to granularly change the conversation in the EU and present the Russian perspective in ways it previously hasn’t been presented. This would mean submitting articles to leading media outlets, connecting Russian experts with podcast, radio, and TV appearances, maintaining a social media presence, and orchestrating issue-based media campaigns that focus on informing and changing public opinion. An important part of this would be messaging. A pro-Russia lobby would need to communicate in a way that is fact-based and intellectually appealing. The fact is, European media often dismisses talking points that come from Russia as propaganda, disinformation, or as simply not credible. In order to win friends and infIuence people, a pro-Russia lobby would need to discredit this stereotype with solid, fact-based messaging that can resonate with open-minded Europeans .

Event-based Outreach: If a pro-Russia lobby wants to be successful in promoting better relations with Russia, then it should start making its way into the heart of Europe’s political discourse. By participating in panels at events, a pro-Russia lobby would have the opportunity to educate, inform, and provoke dialogue with both mover and shakers, as well as average Europeans which would help in shifting public opinion towards Russia. It would be an opportunity to promote better relations with Russia and important policy issues that impact Russia.


Lobbying is both a long-term strategy and investment that requires time and relationship building. That said, the above strategy sets out the right plan of action to effectively lobby Russia’s interests in the European Union . It prioritizes the activities and messaging that is going to educate and inform, provoke dialogue, shift public opinion, and effectuate policy shifts towards a better, brighter Russia-EU relationship. The next step is implementing it.


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