Robert Amsterdam was interviewed by Newsweek regarding recent revelations relating to Russian businessmen hiring US consultants to advance the government’s national interests. Excerpt below.

Robert Amsterdam, an attorney who represented Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky during his case to keep his Yukos oil company from a state takeover, says that in Russia, having close ties between wealthy businessmen and the Kremlin “is not just normal, it is mandatory.”

“There are no major Russian oligarchs now that are not in some level of collaboration with the Russian government,” Amsterdam says. According to him, while some oligarchs are personally closer to Putin than others, most feel that their own interests tend to align with those of the current government.

“What you have happening in Russia is oligarchs spend money on initiatives to benefit Russia, which would in turn benefit them,” he says, though noting that he has “not kept tabs” on Deripaska.