MOSCOW – The governments of Georgia's breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have hired a U.S. public relations company to "improve their worldwide image," RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
David Sanakoev, the human rights commissioner for the South Ossetian president, signed the contract with the Los Angeles-based Saylor Company
on South Ossetia's behalf.
He told RFE/RL that the contract was signed in June and that Saylor will be working on "giving the world the real situation in South Ossetia" through its public relations actions.
Sanakoev added that the cooperation with Saylor Company would help South Ossetia withstand what he called Georgia's "very aggressive and expensive information war."
Kristian Bjaniya, the press secretary of the Abkhaz President's Office, signed a similar contract with the Saylor Company for Abkhazia.
The firm’s president, Mark Saylor, who is a former senior editor at "The Los Angeles Times,” confirmed to RFE/RL that the contracts have been signed, but declined to discuss how his company will implement the project.
A contract obtained by RFE/RL shows that South Ossetia will pay $30,000 per month to the Saylor Company for its services.
One of the activities of the PR firm listed on its contract with South Ossetia is to "remind the world about the brutal attack by Georgia's military on the civilian population of Tskhinvali."
South Ossetia and Abkhazia declared themselves independent one year ago after the five-day Russian-Georgian war. Russia and Nicaragua are the only two countries to recognize the two Georgian republics as independent states.