Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus and unreconstructed communist dictator has joined the likes of Margaret Thatcher and McLaren Mercedes by becoming a client Tory peer and PR guru Tim Bell.
Lord Bell, who came to fame as the man who burnished Margaret Thatcher's image in the early days when she was leader of the opposition, has now been hired to help soften the grim image that Belarus presents to the outside world as it clings to the Soviet way of life. Belarus badly needs foreign investment, which it is unlikely to get from the US, where Congress has condemned the country's civil rights record. Mr Lukashenko wants the UK to step in and become his country's biggest foreign investor. Just over a week ago, he played host to a delegation of peers headed by Cecil Parkinson, who chaired the Tory party during the 1983 election. Lord Parkinson obligingly declared that he thought foreign investors could feel "secure and confident" in Belarus. At the same time, Lord Bell was in Minsk to sign a tricky but no doubt very lucrative contract. "Lukashenko would like his country to be better understood, and his successes to be better grasped," Lord Bell told The Moscow Times. "Lukashenko doesn't see why Belarus can't be a friend to the West and a friend to Russia at the same time."
Hmm even if Bell is a PR magician, why do the words polish and turd spring to mind?