Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Putin's Little Oil Company Seeks New Image

Gazprom, the bruttish Russian oil company that routinely serves as Putin's club of choice when he wants to get Europe's attention, is seeking a big-bucks PR firm. PRWeek reports:
Gazprom, the huge Russian energy company loosely controlled by the state [!], is in negotiations for a multimillion-dollar contract to help burnish its image in the international market.

Dmitry Peskov, first deputy press secretary to the Russian president, confirmed to PRWeek the details of the negotiations, first reported in the Russian press. ...

It is reporedly negotiating a three-year contract, in which the 2007 budget would be approximately $11 million.

Gazprom is seeking to deflect ongoing criticism of its business policies. Detractors say the company, which posted more than $50 billion in revenues last year, is too tightly controlled by the Kremlin, which uses it as a political weapon.
Hint #1: If you want to project that you're not under Putin's thumb, don't have Putin's deputy press secretary serve as your spokesman.

Hint #2: If you want to polish up that ol' independent image, don't double natural gas prices to Georgia, where Putin critic Mikheil Saakashvili serves as president.

Hint #3: Independence is hard to project if Gazprom's chairman of the board is Putin's former head of administration, and its president is a close friend of Putin's from St. Petersburg. (source)

There's even more to this face-to-butt dance between Gazprom and Putin, of course, as Gazprom has helped Putin rattle sabers in Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Belarus.

Nearly $4 million dollars a year is a tidy sum, but even with that, PR can't polish the image of a company that's continually retarnishing itself, as Gazprom does. Good PR means first setting your house in order, then having a PR firm tell the story.

Nevertheless, a number of major PR firms from hustling after those bucks. Shameful.

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