PR Approaches to Handling Russia and the Church of Scientology

Politico.com has a fascinating article this month on Vladimir Putin’s efforts to burnish Russia’s battered image in America.  Entitled Putin’s Washington, the article discusses the ways in which Russia has paid high-powered PR giant Ketchum some sixty million dollars in recent years with few solid results according to polls of what Americans think of Russia and Putin.

The artwork for the article shows Putin to be in the same position as David Miscavige and the Church of Scientology: Spending a fortune can’t buy a heavy-handed and violent tyrant goodwill or respect:

Putin.Cover

Ketchum created a website called ThinkRUSSIA to help Russia tell its story. I was struck by the visual similarity between ThinkRussia and Scientology.org homepages. Both pages feature large lighted buildings at night; are predominated by the color blue; and seek to show how Russia and Scientology are very conscientiously engaged with the world:

ThinkRUSSIA homepage:

Think.Russia

Scientology.org homepage:

Scn.Org

One wonders if Ketchum is now doing PR for the Church of Scientology.

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Despite the enormous amounts of cash spent by Russia, PR giant Ketchum was not making as much progress in improving the country’s image as the Russians wanted. Politico Magazine noted a blindness in Russian leaders on page 2 that bears an uncanny resemblance to Scientology dictator David Miscavige and his PR flacks in the notorious Office of Special Affairs.

Russia.1

In  terms of the Church of Scientology’s complete cultural ineptitude, of thinking that journalists and public opinion can be purchased by handing the right PR firm an envelope stuffed with cash, we need only to offer the Atlantic Magazine fiasco as evidence of David Miscavige being both clueless and self-aggrandizing — a dangerous combination for any dictator:

Atlantic-paid-content

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Just like the Church of Scientology’s website, ThinkRussia also features videos. One particular video grabbed our attention. This video is pitching people on investing hard cash in Russian start ups. However, when one clicks the link to watch the featured video, the video is found to be as private as the OT levels:

Feautured.Video

In related dubious claims, the Church of Scientology unequivocally maintains in its current What is Scientology? video that Scientology is based upon:

50,000 years of wisdom: The fact is that recorded history  goes back about 6,000 years and prehistorical pre-writing  goes back about 7,300 years. Thus, the Church of Scientology is lying once again. There is no “50,000 years of wisdom.” This is just a marketing phrase L. Ron Hubbard made up when he launched Dianetics in 1950.

Mathematics: Where? There are no equations, and certainly no science, in all of Scientology. Rather, the Church of Scientology is an autocracy buttressed by an intelligence agency and a set of coercive psycho-mechanics. This hellish machinery is purposely designed to control people and thereby extract as much of their money, obedience, and labor as possible.

Nuclear Physics: Incredibly, the Church of Scientology in 2015 is still promoting the lie that it is somehow based upon nuclear physics:

Scn.1

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The leaders of Russia and the Church of Scientology apparently do not understand that good PR cannot be purchased and is rather earned. Furthermore, lies and violent behavior are easily exposed in the globally-connected social media landscape. Nevertheless, such obstacles do not stop PR firms from promising autocrats and tyrants great PR in exchange for huge sums of money. Perhaps the best way to get rich these days is to be a PR firm catering to “challenging regimes” or a law firm that has the Church of Scientology for a client.

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