Thursday

21st Nov 2019

Anti-Tymoshenko party hires top PR firm in EU capital

  • Tymoshenko in court last year (Photo: byut.com.ua)

Ukraine's ruling Party of Regions (PoR) has hired Burson-Marsteller - a top PR company in Brussels - amid a smear campaign against former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Robert Mack, a senior manager at Burson-Marsteller, told EUobserver: "Our brief is to help the PoR communicate its activities as the governing party of Ukraine, as well as to help it explain better its position on the Yulia Tymoshenko case."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

One of his staff said it was hired "several weeks ago."

Its tasks include setting up press interviews for Ukraine's deputy prosecutor general, Renat Kuzmin, when he visits the EU capital next week.

Kuzmin in the Financial Times on 1 April accused Tymoshenko of involvement in a 1990s contract killing. On a visit to Brussels in November he accused her of buying "cars, furs, jewellery, restaurants" while declaring a tiny income.

A Tymoshenko party ally, Hyorhiy Nemyria, told this website the PoR-Kuzmin link violates Kuzmin's status as an independent jurist: "It's just one more confirmation that this is a political case and that Kuzmin is a loyal servant of [Ukrainian] President [Viktor] Yanukovych."

Martin Nunn, a British national who runs Whites Communication, a PR firm in Kiev, said he has written to the UK's Crown Prosecution Service to ask if Burson-Marsteller, which has an office in London, is in violation of the UK bribery act.

"This can be perceived as an act of bribery on the part of the Party of Regions as Kuzmin is getting PR benefit as a gift from PoR," he said.

Burson-Marsteller's Mack noted: "The deputy prosecutor general is a logical person to speak about the facts surrounding the Tymoshenko case."

Meanwhile, a senior aide to Yanukovych, Anna Herman, told this website his chancellery knows nothing about his party's PR work: "We have nothing to do with it and we don't have any information about it."

Referring to allegations that Tymoshenko was beaten by prison guards last Friday (20 April), Herman added: "If it's not one thing, she'll invent another. I don't like scandals and I don't like scandalous women."

The Burson-Marsteller contract comes amid wider efforts to blacken Tymoshenko's name.

In 2010, Yanukovych hired US firms Kroll, Trout Cacheris and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to look for evidence of corruption. Last week, anonymous sources circulated a blurry video to Ukrainian media purporting to show her in her prison cell faking back ache and cuddling with her lawyer, Sergei Vlasenko.

Nemyria said the clip is a fabrication. He noted that it shows her using her left hand to do her hair even though she is right-handed.

Tymoshenko was jailed last year on charges of abuse of office in a trial denounced by EU diplomats as "selective justice." She is currently in the seventh day of a hunger strike in protest at the alleged beating.

The case threatens to damage prospects of the EU signing a political association and trade pact with Ukraine later this year - a development of geopolitical significance in EU-Ukraine-Russia relations.

Nemyria said Ukraine's human rights ombudsman, Nina Karpachyova, met with EU diplomats in Kiev on Friday (27 April) to show them photos of bruises on Tymoshenko's body resulting from the alleged beating.

He added that the presidents of Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany are to boycott Yanukovych's summit of central European leaders in May.

For her part, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has urged Kiev to "examine promptly and impartially any complaints of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" and to let the EU ambassador to Ukraine see Tymoshenko.

Opinion

Ukraine's New Year gas nightmare

Throughout 2011 Ukraine was locked in a dispute with Russia over gas prices. The quarrel is set to escalate in 2012 as Russia squeezes Kyiv to choose deeper integration with Moscow in exchange for cheaper gas.

Football diplomacy: Euro 2012 and Ukraine

The man in charge of Ukraine's Euro 2012 football championship has said Uefa is doing more than the EU institutions to modernise the country.

Opinion

Why Tymoshenko will stay in prison

Nothing short of EU sanctions, a revolution or a miracle election win sill see Tymoshenko get out of jail, writes Neil Pattie.

News in Brief

  1. Berlusconi wants Europe to be a military global power
  2. Orban ordered to apologise over 'misleading' Soros survey
  3. EPP to decide on expelling Fidesz by end of January
  4. Rowdy anti-corruption protest in Malta
  5. Ambassador: Trump ordered Ukraine election meddling
  6. EU links Libyan government to human trafficking
  7. Greek PM on migration: 'Greece has reached its limits'
  8. Luxembourg: EU ought to recognise Palestine

Magazine

EU diplomacy 2.0

MEPs on the foreign affairs committee ought to be like second-tier EU diplomats on the Western Balkans and Russia, according to its German chairman, but foreign policy splits could bedevil its work.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  2. New EU financial instruments needed
  3. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  4. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  5. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  6. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  7. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president
  8. Don't lead Europe by triggering its fears

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us