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To Russia, with love

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To Russia, With Love

From the Daily Telegraph yesterday: “Bankers, lawyers and PR consultants in the City are contingency planning to cut ties with the Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom amid fears it could be the target of sanctions.

Gazprom has a host of big City firms as advisers – Hudson Sandler comes up on the PR side, though I gather it only works for a Gazprom subsidiary, not the main entity.

What should PR firms do here?

One line might be: If someone is going to take Gazprom’s money, it might as well be us. And where do you draw the line when it comes to capitalism?

It sounds like sanctions are a clear point of division. “You can’t act for companies that are sanctioned,” says one seasoned adviser. “You just have to down tools until they get unsanctioned.”

Ok, fair enough, but sanctions or no, it wouldn’t exactly be a shock to find that a company controlled by the Kremlin has on occasion been up to no good.

If the point is to be judged by the company you keep, wouldn’t you want not to be their adviser in the first place?

The PR industry is increasingly the focus for this sort of thing, I think. Maybe we just assume that bankers and lawyers will work for anyone with a cheque book.

In some ways that’s unfair on the flak trade. In other ways, well, you can hardly claim to protect my reputation if your own is in tatters.

We should note that there are many City firms with Russian interests. One way or another most of them do.

Let’s assume that those, like Hudson Sandler, who have been around for a long time, don’t favour the short-term gain over the long one.

Other firms might take a different view. You could ask Bell Pottinger what it thinks, if it still existed.

More on this tomorrow…

“It feels as if the world is against us” begins this from Rhizomemedia.

There are quotes from 18 (eighteen) small firms reacting to today’s inflation news.

That might be more than we need, but you can hardly fault the endeavour.

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