Russian president Boris Yeltsin is believed to have drafted in Tory PR
guru Sir Tim Bell and his agency Lowe Bell Consultants to boost his
chances of winning in June’s presidential elections.
The assignment follows on from Lowe Bell’s work with prime minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin’s Our Home is Russia party during the parliamentary
elections last December. Despite spending more than dollars 1 million on
advertising, Chernomyrdin’s party managed to alienate ordinary voters
and it was routed at the polls by the Communist party, which did not
spend a penny but relied on its massive grass roots infrastructure.
It has been suggested that this time Lowe Bell will have more direct
input into the presidential campaign and is likely to have several
people stationed in Moscow for the duration. Bell himself is thought to
have been the brains behind last weekend’s Russian TV special in which
Yeltsin’s wife, Naina, revealed details of their home life.
The programme was produced by commercial TV station NTV - a Lowe Bell
client - whose president Igor Mal-ashenkowas recently appointed as head
of information for the Yeltsin campaign.
Recent polls show Yeltsin trailing Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov but
his supporters hope to woo voters by presenting Yeltsin as a statesman
and the only one with any experience of running a country. If it looks
as if he may lose, he has another option: call off the elections