Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Political Consultants

It is well known in Ukraine and the US that foreign political consultants - especially Americans - are behind the scenes of the major campaigns. After Viktor Yanukovych's failure to become president in 2004, he began working with Paul Manafort, a consultant who worked with many Republican candidates (including Kansas' own Bob Dole). The 2010 election also features advisers from the Obama campaign working for Yuliya Tymoshenko, and advisers from the Clinton campaign working for Viktor Yushchenko.

Some campaigns have failed to engage with good PR specialists, however. Arseniy Yatsenyuk is a young politician whose star was on the rise. His stint as speaker of parliament was marred by his inability to herd Ukrainian cats (please note: Slavs in fact train cats although they have not yet made the Only In Ukraine blog...). He has recently fallen prey to a Michael Dukakis syndrome, trying to portray himself in ways that do not match his skills and abilities. While he has not been filmed in a tank, awkward tractor driving and bare-chested poses are ill-suited. The Kyiv Post article linked above attributes the Yatseniuk's errors to Russian political consultants who opted to portray him as a "military-style leader."

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