From October 24th to October 27th, 2019, the fourth advanced training course “GR and lobbying in business and nonprofit sector” was held jointly by the MGIMO School of Business and International Proficiency and the lobbying firm Baikal Communications Group.

During the four-day program, audience studied GR and lobbying technologies to promote the interests of business the non-profit sector in governmental bodies, worked with a matrix of industry risks. Lobbying and GR technologies and tools were discussed by cases of Russian and multinational companies from various industries, holdings with state participation and charity funds.

The first part of the course was conducted by Eduard Voytenko, PhD in Political Science, CEO of the Baikal Communications Group, and Andrey Lyan, Corporate Affairs Lead for Russia at Cargill LLC, who spoke about the regulatory considerations of lobbying in Russia and lobbying and GR-tools and technologies at different levels: regional, federal and supranational (EAEU). Speakers specially focused on the competencies that a GR specialist and lobbyist should have. Head of PR&GR at Lenta, Maria Filippova, shared her experience in mitigating risks in retail and talked about the nature of interaction with other industry players on similar and other tasks in governmental bodies. In turn, President of the National Union of Fruit & Vegetables Producers Anatoly Kutsenko, who has extensive experience in public service, noted the professional expectations of federal executive bodies from the work of GR managers and lobbyists on the example of the agricultural industry. On the same day, Irina Fedorova, Senior Government Relations Director, Baltika Breweries (part of Carlsberg Group) shared her skills in building a GR department and its performance evaluation.

The second day was opened by the President of the National Association of Professional Collection Agencies, Elman Mekhtiyev, with cases from the financial and banking industry, focusing on the influence strategy. In addition, he spoke about risk management in the financial sector. Anatoly Meshcheryakov, State Secretary – Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Russian Railways, shared his experience in a company with state participation, giving special attention to cross-industry risks related to the monopoly. Sergei Chernenko, Director of Corporate Affairs, Russia, Eastern Europe, CIS, Baltics at Bacardi dwelled on cases in the field of alcohol regulation and shared his experience of cooperation with relevant associations to lobbying for the interests of the company in its operating countries. Alexey Torgov, Director of Government Relations and Market Access at BIOCAD, spoke about the activities of Russian companies in the international arena under the protectionism of national markets using the example of his company. For the first time, a negotiation training was held as part of the course. The master class on the topic “GR specifics in the IT industry and the digital economy: regulatory approaches, interaction with the state, practical negotiation techniques” was conducted by Marina Zhunich, Head of Public Affairs for Russia and CIS at Google Russia.

During the third day students learned from Dmitry Polikanov, President of the Deaf-Blind Support Foundation “Con-nection”, about the difficulties of GR in the non-profit sector. Alexander Moskovkin, Head of section “Law” at Rossiyskaya Gazeta, spoke about the solution of GR problems through the judicial system (the technology of “institutionalizing” problems through a court decision). Viktor Khaikov, President, Chairman of the Board at National Oil and Gas Service Association, spoke about effective GR-tools for lobbying the interests of business from the oil and gas sector in government at various levels, including international, federal and regional. Alexander Pavlenko, GR Director at Fortum, shared his experience and features of GR in the field of traditional and green energy. The speaker elaborated on the topic of overcoming regulatory barriers to the development of the industry in Russia. Maria Dronova, Director for GR and Charitable Activities at EvrazHolding, spoke about GR in metallurgy and mining in the context of the impact of the environmental agenda on the industry.

Complex industries with increased attention of the state and society to their activities were considered within the fourth day of the course. Dmitry Kononov, Head of Relations with Federal Authorities, VimpelCom and Anna Smirnova, Government Affairs & Policies Director, Russia & CIS, Cisco expand on a topic “Emerging Regulatory Industries: Cases in IT & Telecom and High Technologies”. On the example of the “Yarovaya package”, representatives of VimpelCom showed the industry’s work with risks of stopping them through the formation of a coalition both in the industry and in governmental bodies. Stada CIS Deputy CEO Ivan Glushkov spoke about cases in the pharmaceutical industry, separately dwelling on the goal-setting and logic of market players in coordination with authorities. Yana Guskova, BAT Russia Director for Legal Affairs and External Corporate Relations, introduced listeners to the proactive GR strategy in the tobacco industry and addressed the impact on excise policy and reactions to marking initiatives. In conclusion, Artem Yulegin, Head of the Entrepreneurship Advocacy Section at the EEC Department for the Development of Entrepreneurship, spoke about the mechanisms of the EEC and explained what effective strategic and tactical directions for the work of GR specialists in the supranational space should be based on.

Among the listeners there were top managers and managers from companies: Rosneft Oil Company, Russian Export Center, Russian Railways, Mondeles Russia, Baikal Communications Group, Promsvyazbank, Neftegazholding, Nizhpharm, British American Tobacco, Russian Regional Development Bank, United Shipbuilding Corporation, Abinsk Electric Steel Works Ltd, Game Stream JLLC, etc. In addition, a UN representative attended the course for the first time (from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). In all 27 specialists got trained during the course. At the end participants were awarded certificates of advanced training.

From 2020 the advanced training course is held once a year. Registration for the fifth group of training continues.

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