Two long-standing former partners from the Moscow office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld have exited to form a new Russian law firm.

Ilya Rybalkin and Suren Gortsunyan have announced the formation of their new law firm, Rybalkin Gortsunyan & Partners (RGP).

An official statement revealed that the move was a result of ’geopolitical tensions on both sides of the Atlantic hindering western firms serving Russian clients’. The new firm will initially work with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld on a non-exclusive basis, including on current matters.

Name partner Ilya Rybalkin had headed the dispute resolution and investigations group at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s Moscow office. Prior to that, he has worked as a partner at US firm Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) and as a partner at Germany’s Noerr.

Suren Gortsunyan specialised in advising Russian and international companies in the M&A space for the US firm. He had earlier been a partner with Hogan Lovells in Moscow, and had also worked in the Moscow offices of White & Case and Herbert Smith.

Former Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld counsels, Oleg Isaev and Kirill Ratnikov, also joined the team as a M&A partner and projects counsel, respectively. In total, 13 lawyers from the US firm departed to join RGP.

The new firm is based in the Legend of Tsvetnoy building in central Moscow. RGP is already advising clients on cross-border disputes and corporate deals, and expects to soon expand into finance and domestic litigation.