Gulnara Needs Better PR Consultants

by Nathan Hamm on 1/2/2013 · 3 comments

Is Gulnara Karimova working with a public relations firm to reach out to bloggers? That a fawning post on Karimova’s Fund Forum written by Alex Simons, a freelance social media consultant, in the style section at The Huffington Post.

In the post, Simons describes having coffee with an unnamed friend last week who described to him an exciting event that recently took place in Tashkent, where there “beats a quickening pulse of creativity, fashion, and art.” What is this thing that was so fascinating? Fund Forum’s annual report/live online dialog apparently. This opportunity to watch Fund Forum’s online annual report so excited Simons that he entirely lost the ability to use definite articles or make subjects and verbs agree.

Most of the projects of the Fund Forum has a social character. They combine all the layers of the population, to establish closer links between all participants in the social and cultural processes, and develop cooperation based on common goals and interests, and also demonstrate the potential and the dynamics of the interaction of its creative and innovative opportunities for the social sector in Uzbekistan. Thus a new form of social movement that involved a variety of populations, governments and non-governmental sector has emerged — when even in a big group an important voice of each individual participant is heard.

In all seriousness, it is fairly clear that Simons did not write this himself, and it seems to obviously to have been neither written nor edited by a native English speaker. The piece is six paragraphs packed with the usual markers of marketing put out by and about Gulnara and her charities: fashion brand whoring; shout-outs to Uzbekistan’s ancient roots and its exotic culture blending east and west; that Fund Forum supports artists and organizes charitable and cultural events; mentions of some obscure celebrities (and Sting) who visited Uzbekistan to attend Fund Forum events; and that Gulnara Karimova makes it all happen. Only Gulnara’s twitter account is more lacking in self awareness. So this has to be something Gulnara is up to, right? Should we expect to see more with New York Fashion Week approaching?

As Sarah Kendzior reminded me, Gulnara has reached out to fashion and style bloggers before. Google has kindly cached some of the results of that outreach. (You can read a bit about it in this paper (PDF) that Sarah wrote for the New America Foundation.)

If you notice more fawning Fund Forum or Gulnara coverage from unlikely sources, be sure to let us know.

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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Sarah Kendzior January 3, 2013 at 6:47 am

It seems to be an organized PR effort, not limited to the HuffPost shill. The blogger who I wrote about in my New America Foundation paper has been invited back to Uzbekistan and is currently posting Instagram pics and blog updates on Fund Forum and M&TVA. A few other Western fashion bloggers were invited as well.

Nathan Hamm January 3, 2013 at 9:18 am

Nice. Thanks!

Meerza January 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm


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