Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s Russian operations are taking a major hit, with Moscow rainmaker Ilya Rybalkin leaving to form an independent 13-lawyer outfit in the city, citing ongoing geopolitical tensions as a driver for the move.

Alongside former Akin Gump partner Suren Gortsunyan and a number of other colleagues, Rybalkin is launching Rybalkin Gortsunyan & Partners (RGP), which will focus on cross-border disputes and high-end corporate work.