Postcards from the Propaganda war in Georgia

LA Daily reports:

The Saylor Company, a Pasadena crisis-management firm, has just landed two high-profile ​contracts in one of the world’s violent flashpoints. The Georgian breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have hired the PR outfit to gain a little leverage in their war of words with big neighbor Georgia. Last year, of course, it was less about words and more about tanks and Grad rockets. Then, Georgia launched an ill-conceived attack on South Ossetia, only to be quickly overwhelmed by a Russian Army counter-blitz, which Abkhazia aided [LR:  By any logical standard, the American revolution was also “ill-conceived” and so was the defense of Leningrad]. The two autonomous regions, which remain unrecognized as sovereign nations except by Russia and Nicaragua, are virtual wards of Moscow, which is funding their crippled economies.

In fact, according to a report from ITAR-TASS, it’s actually Russia who’s footing the bills to pay Saylor. According to contracts for South Ossetia and Abkhazia filed with the Department of Justice, some of Saylor’s duties for the former are to “remind the world of the brutal attack by Georgia’s military on the civilian population of Tskhinvali in August” and “[e]xplain how the Russian military saved the civilian population of South Ossetia from Georgian military forces.” The documents say Saylor’s fees are not to exceed $30,000 per month, which public relations specialists regard as the industry’s going rate.

The Lake Avenue PR firm, founded by former L.A. Times editor and Sitrick & Co. PR executive Mark Saylor, might seem a world away from conflicts in the Caucasus. However, after his role in selling the new Screen Actors Guild contract to dissident union members, as well as gilding the image of the Kuwaiti contractor responsible for construction of the troubled U.S. embassy in Baghdad, stepping into the middle of ancient ethnic rivalries probably seems like a piece of cake for Saylor, who is known as an aggressive marketer who does not farm out his work. (He declined to speak on the record for this report, citing the confidentiality of his work with clients.)

“The secret of a boutique PR business is to specialize,” says Ross Johnson, a former member of Sitrick & Co., and currently vice president of corporate communications for BNC PR. “There’s always going to be a breakaway republic. So it makes sense to specialize in them — I’m all for it.”

Saylor’s company will have its hands full, given Western sympathy toward Georgia and suspicions of Russian ambitions in the USSR’s former spheres of influence.

“I still have plenty of friends in journalism who look at me like I’ve gone to the dark side,” Mark Saylor is quoted in an interview that appears on his firm’s Web site. The interviewer noted that “part of the reason he left journalism, he says, was because of ethical concerns,” having been “actively involved in exposing the paper’s questionable profit-sharing arrangement with the Staples Center in 1999.”

12 responses to “Postcards from the Propaganda war in Georgia

  1. This is absolutely disgusting! Putin’s personal PR guy! Who the hell do you think pays you?

  2. Wow.

    He left the LA Times on an ethics issue and now works for the Kremlin.

    As the late media mogul Kerry Packer once said:

    ‘There’s a little bit of the whore in everyone of us, gentlemen; name your price.’

  3. Wal, very well put. Saylor is a whore who follows the fattest wallet in town.

  4. I wonder if US Justice Department has anything to say about it . It looks like Georgia is protesting due to the fact that those two territories are occupied Georgian territories and Georgia has a say in it.

  5. Oh please. Like LR isn’t a whore.


    Just out of curiosity “AKM,” (a/k/a “Jerry” a/k/a “Jason” a/k/a “Esham”) why do you post under so many different names? Are you trying to create the illusion that somebody agrees with you? If so, is that because you know your position is no strong enough to stand on its own, and indeed would be laughed at? And what word would you use to describe your own activities?

  6. You can yank my you know what penny, for all I care.

    • Now AKM, just because (like most Russian men) you can’t get any due to stupidity, racism, and being generally repulsive, is no reason to be making unwanted sexual advances on Penny.

      • Hi Andrew,

        AKM is the reason why so many women want to leave moscow and post their pictures on many web sites, to get away from “boys” like AKM. It is understandable that he can not find a “babushka” to yank him, and only fantasizes about penny.

        • I must agree entirely Les.

          • Well, you forget that most Russian women “who leave Moscow (most of those women are provincial)” and “post their pictures on many websites (most of those pictures are fake)” do it because there is such high demand from femenized, impotent and culturally castrated western men, who can’t get any from their own women. It’s either that, or most of their women look like Penny, in which case my solidarity is with them.

            • Actually, most Russian men are impotent due to the huge amount of alchohol they consume, plus the typical Russian misogyny (as frequently shown by AKM) which seems to be a consequence of the Russian tradition of homosexuality.

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