Brit Publicist to Work on Belarus' Image

Belarusian authorities concluded a contract with British public relations executive Timothy Bell last week. Bell declined to reveal the value of the contract, but he had said earlier that he planned on making "millions of dollars" on it. He says he will work on the country's image, and acknowledges that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's image is inexorably tied that of the country he leads. Since meeting Bell, Lukashenko has begun to be seen in public with his four-year-old son Kolya and to talk about him more. (He has two adult sons who are better known to the world.)

Bell advised Margaret Thatcher's three successful campaigns for prime minister, even changing her hairstyle. He also helped distribute information on the poisoning of Former FSB officer Alexander Lukashenko. Russian political emigrant Boris Berezonvsky, the Saudi Arabian government and former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra are also his clients, as are media magnate Rupert Murdoch and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. He is known to have refused to take on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as a client.

The Belarusian contract was signed after five months' negotiations, which began with a meeting between Bell and Lukashenko. Lukashenko told Bell that he wants him to be "an ambassador of goodwill from Great Britain," noting that Britain is one of the leading investors in Belarus. Bell is not disclosing the details of his plan for the country but he said that he wants to counteract the country's image in the world press and raise Belarus' investment attractiveness. Bell is not commenting on the facts that have tarnished the country's image. When asked about the brutal handling on demonstrators last March 25, he said that he knew nothing about it.



Partners: Social Network