LONDON—Ketchum has been selected to support the Russian Presidency of the G8 (Group of Eight) and the upcoming G8 Summit in July in St. Petersburg. Ketchum will lead a multi-agency team that will support the three main priorities of the annual economic and political summit selected by the host country: ensuring energy security, addressing infectious diseases, and improving education.
Ketchum’s London office will lead the assignment, working with GPlus, a leading European Union political-communications specialist based in Brussels; and in Japan, Gavin Anderson, a corporate and financial public relations firm that is like Ketchum part of Omnicom; and in Moscow Ketchum affiliate Maslov Sokur & Associates.
In addition to Russia, the G8 consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The G8 presidency rotates every year. Last year the presidency was held by the U.K., which hosted a summit in Gleneagles. This year the presidency is held by Russia for the first time and Ketchum will work to repair some of the recent damage done to the country’s reputation after Gazprom, the state-controlled natural gas company threatened to cut off supplies to Ukraine in a pricing dispute and by calls from U.S. Senator John McCain for member countries to boycott the St Petersburg summit over Russia’s authoritarian tendencies.
Dmitry Peskov, deputy press attaché to Russian president Vladmir Putin, told the Financial Times that the decision to hire international advisers had been taken last year. “Russia’s presidency started well and continues to go very successfully,” he says. “But it didn’t get off to a good start on the communications front. And this is connected with the misinterpretation [in the west] of what happened with Gazprom and Ukraine. We set out our point of view, but apparently it wasn’t that effective. Perhaps if we had already been working then with some kind of communications company things would have been different.”