Monday, September 01, 2014

P.R. Firm for Putin’s Russia Now Walking a Fine Line

By RAVI SOMAIYA, NYT
AUG. 31, 2014

In 2006, executives from the public relations firm Ketchum flew to Moscow to secure an account that has since been worth tens of millions of dollars.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had hired Ketchum to provide advice on public relations before the nation hosted the Group of 8 meeting in St. Petersburg. At the time, Mr. Putin “cared a great deal about what other leaders, especially presidents, thought about him,” said Michael A. McFaul, a former United States ambassador to Russia who now teaches at Stanford.

Times have changed. The escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine has turned relations with the United States as frosty as they have been in years. Last week, President Obama said that as a result of the economic sanctions imposed on Russia, the country “is already more isolated than at any time since the Cold War.” And the United States ambassador to the United Nations called Russia’s actions in Ukraine a “threat to all of our peace and security.”

“There has been a sharp turn in how much they care anymore,” Mr. McFaul said. “They decided, O.K., we’ve had enough of these guys, let’s not worry so much about our reputation.”

(More here.)

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