The Kremlin’s PR challenge

The Financial Times reports on a big task for any PR agency:

Russia’s presidential administration has signed a multi-million dollar contract with Ketchum, a US-based PR firm, to advise on communications with western media during its G8 term, which started on January 1 and lasts for 12 months, as well as the St Petersburg summit in July.

The contract is a coup for Ketchum, which adds the Kremlin to clients including IBM, Kodak, FedEx and the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Work will be co-ordinated by Ketchum’s Washington DC office, and a sister company, GPlus Europe, a Brussels-based public affairs group founded by Peter Guilford and Nigel Gardner, two former European Commission trade spokesmen.

They face a unique PR challenge in trying to win recognition of Russia’s G8 work amid growing international suspicion of its record on democracy under Vladimir Putin, president, and of how it plans to use its oil and gas might.

The FT says Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the decision to hire Ketchum, but it had taken time to persuade all the necessary Kremlin officials. The paper also says that the Russians did not expect to transform overnight western media coverage that Moscow believes is often excessively negative.

However, the Kremlin does want to gain credit, where due, for the handling of its presidency and summit, the FT says.

Financial Times | Kremlin hires PR group to improve G8 image

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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