John Harrington
May 5, 2022

UK Government bans PR agencies from working in Russia

UK providers of PR and communications services have been banned from operating in Russia as the UK Government prohibits services exports to the country.

Photo by YURI KADOBNOV/AFP via Getty Images
Photo by YURI KADOBNOV/AFP via Getty Images

The new measures, announced today, mean Russia's businesses can no longer benefit from PR and comms services in the UK, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The services ban also applies to management consultancy and accountancy firms.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: "Our professional services exports are extraordinarily valuable to many countries, which is exactly why we’re locking Russia out. By restricting Russia’s access to our world-class management consultants, accountants and PR firms, we’re ratcheting up economic pressure on the Kremlin to change course."

PRCA director general and ICCO chief executive Francis Ingham commented: "The PRCA strongly welcomes this news. Nobody with any conscience can do business with Russia. It is simply unthinkable given the barbarity of the Russian state.

"Putin has turned his country into a pariah state that sadly now has no place in the global community of civilised nations. It will not re-enter that community until its president leaves the Kremlin."

In March, the PRCA said any agency working with an organisation on the sanctions list would be expelled from the trade body.

Dima Vasilenco, UK-based founder of Good Advice Public Relations, who is from Ukraine, said: "It is absurd to see how a number of the world’s biggest PR agencies were profiting from genocidal wars Russia waged around Eastern Europe since the fall of the USSR by working with the Russian Government and Russia’s biggest companies and brands.

"In the age of social justice, when all eyes are on business ethics and the effects businesses have on the world, I am shocked by the amount and volume of blood-stained Russian money floating around the UK PR industry.

"It is really sad that this could only be stopped by the UK Government stepping in and banning this legally, instead of PR firms making ethical decisions while choosing clients. Nevertheless, this is a great foreign-policy decision by the Government that would hopefully have a strong effect by damaging the Russian economy in the long run."


The government today also announced 63 new sanctions, many of which it said will hit actors and organisations from mainstream media organisations with asset freezes and travel bans.

Those sanctioned include war correspondents who are embedded with Russian forces in Ukraine. Also sanctioned are a series of "strategic propaganda organisations" including all Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting, and other outlets such as InfoRos, SouthFront and the Strategic Culture Foundation.


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