Tags: Russia | russia | vladimir putin | public | relations | firm | severs

Putin's Russia Sacks American PR Firm

By    |   Thursday, 12 March 2015 06:06 PM

Citing "anti-Russian hysteria," Russia has sacked an American public relations firm it has worked with for nearly a decade.

According to a CNN report, Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration decided to sever ties with Ketchum, which is part of the larger marketing group Omnicom.

"We decided not to renew the contract because of the anti-Russian hysteria, the information war that is going on," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN.

CNN reports the Russian government first brought in Ketchum to represent it in 2006, and it has paid the New York City-based company almost $30 million since then.

The firm successfully pitched several pro-Russian op-eds to high-profile publications, none more notable than a 2013 New York Times op-ed carrying Putin's byline. Ketchum also played a role in Putin being named the Time Person of the Year in 2007.

CNN reports the firm also pitched stories to Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post in advance of one of the annual summits of the BRICS — which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The 2009 summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Ketchum was also involved in promoting the 2014 Sochi Olympics and Russia's position in the World Trade Organization, according to CNN.

"If you spend a lot of money on communication, you want it to be fruitful — and that is not possible in this hateful environment," Peskov told CNN.

Russia, reports CNN, paid Ketchum just $1.5 million from its work in 2013 and half that amount for 2014.

A 2014 New York Times story dove deeper into the relationship between Russia and Ketchum, and cited passages from a book about Russia written by a former consultant with the company, Angus Roxburgh.

"Ketchum worked with members of the Russian leader’s inner circle, Mr. Roxburgh wrote. The Russian officials, he said, were initially convinced they could pay for better coverage, or intimidate journalists into it," the Times piece reads.

"They were eventually persuaded to take reporters to dinner instead. But after the [2006] murder of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a critic of the Kremlin who was assassinated in her Moscow apartment block under mysterious circumstances, they stopped engaging with the news media, because they did not want to face questions about her death."

The story also said the Ketchum team was still working with some members of Putin's tight inner circle last summer.

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Citing "anti-Russian hysteria," Russia has sacked an American public relations firm it has worked with for nearly a decade.
russia, vladimir putin, public, relations, firm, severs, ties
Thursday, 12 March 2015 06:06 PM
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