Posted by Diane Farsetta on February 20, 2008

Vladimir Putin and George Bush (<a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Vladimir_Putin_and_George_W._Bush.jpg" target="_blank">July 2007)Ketchum, the PR firm involved in the Armstrong Williams "pundit payola" scandal, helped Vladimir Putin become Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2007. The firm also conducted "dozens of media briefings in Moscow, New York and Washington, D.C. for both the Russian Federation and its natural gas monopoly Gazprom," reports O'Dwyer's. Ketchum was paid $845,000 for two months of work for the Russian Federation in early 2007, around the G8 Summit and visits to Moscow by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Ketchum has a $250,000 per month contract with Gazprom; the gas company also pays the Gavin Anderson firm $100,000 per month. In 2007, Ketchum's Gazprom work included "several press and think tank briefings," and organizing "meetings as executives visited the U.S. in late November and early December."