Russia Looks to Buy a Better Reputation

The Kremlin, it seems, is getting quite fed up of all the negative news flowing out from its borders, bringing the world stories of political prisoners, crushed dissent, and flawed democratic process. Bad for business, no? Tonight the Moscow Times is reporting that Russia’s state-owned Development Bank has been put in charge of changing that with the launch of a new NGO to promote Russia’s image abroad: “The draft program of improving the country’s image abroad, an 80-page document prepared by Nabiullina’s ministry, calls for closer cooperation with international media and promotion of nonenergy sectors through international fairs and exhibitions.” What, wasn’t getting your president named TIME’s Person of the Year enough? Someone should let the Kremlin (as well as Gazprom) know that the best way to change your image is to change your conduct. Let’s just hope that the expulsion of Natalia Morari is not Russia’s idea of “closer cooperation with international media.”