‘Brussels the propaganda battlefield for Russia and Georgia’

August 18th, 2008 - 7:15 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 18 (IANS) Away from battlefields of South Ossetia, enemies Georgia and Russia have been fighting a propaganda battle - run by PR agencies based in Brussels, a newspaper reported.And while Georgia may have lost the war in South Ossetia, the opinion in Western capitals is that it is streets ahead of its giant neighbour when it comes to the propaganda battle.

Georgia’s propaganda is being handled by Aspect Consulting.

President Mikheil Sakashvili paid a reported half a million euros to the firm last year to brand Georgia as a “western wannabe, a Nato and European Union aspirant emphasizing everything from its fabulous food and drink to its liberties and democratic policies”, the Guardian newspaper reported.

It said Sakashvili’s PR campaign went into “overdrive” as Russian forces invaded Georgia.

“Reporters covering the conflict have been showered daily with emails providing news, contact details, mobile phone numbers of officials, video footage, background material, and tele-conference access to Georgians from Saakashvili down. Highly efficient, highly effective, usually punctual,” the newspaper said.

Russia’s PR is also handled by a Brussels-based agency, GPlus, which has been working for the Russian presidency for more than two years.

The success of the Georgia PR campaign has made it to the cover this week of the trade magazine PR Week.

Aspect founding partner James Hunt told the magazine: “I’m on the side of the angels.”

About GPlus, he said: “There are agencies that work for Russia. But I don’t know how they can be comfortable about that.”

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