Russian Government steps up the PR to attract foreign investment dollars
Russia is accelerating lobbying efforts, aimed at lifting sanctions against the country already next year and attracting foreign investors to the country, and in particular those from the US and Canada.
Implementation of these plans is carried out through the conviction of international community about senselessness of further keeping of sanctions regime between Russia and the West, in terms of economics and joint fight with international terrorism.
The latest events in global politics, including Brexit, the victory of Donald Trump in the US Presidential Elections and the activization of right-wing political forces in Western countries (which support lifting sanctions against Russia), according to plans of the Russian government, should create conditions for the gradual lifting of sanctions against the country and restoration of Russia’s positions in the international arena.
That will be achieved through the use of different tools, including through the attraction of some global PR agencies to work in Russia. However, due to reputational risks, many of these agencies still refuse to sign direct contracts with the Russian government, preferring to keep any talks, regarding with this, in strict secrecy.
Currently the Russian government continues a search of a new PR major, which should promote its interests in the international arena and to fill a niche, which became vacant after the termination of a contract with the US Ketchum PR-agency.
While the search is currently ongoing, one of the biggest roles in the implementation of these plans is currently assigned to some Russian public associations, affiliated with the Kremlin, one of which is the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is a state investment fund, with operating capital in the volume of US$10 billion.
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The Fund was established six years ago, with the aim to attract foreign investors to fund projects in Russia together with the RFID.
To date, the Fund has already started the promotion of the idea of lifting sanctions against Russia in the international arena, which takes place through the placement of paid publications in global economic journals and magazines, persuading global investors to return to Russia, as well as positioning the victory of the US Presidential Elections by Donald Trump as the beginning of a new era of relations between Russia and the US.
An example of this is a recent publication in the Financial Times, which covered Putin’s participation in the Asia-Pacific Summit on Economic Cooperation in November 2016 in Lima (Peru) in positive way, as well as an interview, given by Kirill Dmitriev, head of RFID to the US CNBC channel in the middle of summer, where he said about the forthcoming, inevitable lifting of sanctions against Russia already in the middle of 2017.
According to Boris Tizengauzen, a well-known Russian and Ukranian expert in the field of PR, all of this is part of a complex strategy, designed by the Russian Presidential Administration for the improvement of the country’s image in the international arena.
At the same time, in addition to the national government, large Russian business have also started to pay more attention for the PR support of its activities both in Russia and abroad.
In contrast to previous years, when the majority of Russian natural monopolies and state-owned corporations have mostly preferred to cooperate with leading Western PR agencies, in recent years they have started to pay more attention to the cooperation with leading domestic PR companies. This is reflected in the signing of contracts.
For example, Russian oil and gas producer Rosneft has recently signed an agreement with iMARS agency, one of Russia’s leading PR agencies, on the coverage of the activities of the company in the domestic and Western media, as well as promotion of the company’s interests in the international arena.
The value of the contract, which was granted to iMARS as a result of a tender, is estimated at RUB 15.5 million (US$250,000). Under the terms of the contract, iMARS will focus on the PR-promotion of the activities of Rosneft, both in Russia and abroad.
In the meantime, in addition to Rosneft, Rostec (another Russian state-owned diversified conglomerate), has also approved its corporate policy in the field of PR, which was reflected in the signing of an agreement with R.I.M. Porter Novelli, another Russia’s leading PR agency, on the PR support of the company’s activities both in Russia and abroad. Under the terms of the agreement, Porter Novelli will be responsible for daily publication of positive materials, dedicated to Rostec (as well as numerous structural divisions and subsidiaries of the company), both in Russian and foreign media throughout the year.
Eugene Gerden is an international free-lance writer, based in St. Petersburg, who specializes on writing in the field of mining, metals and rare earth metals. ... <Read more about Eugene Gerden>