Russian diplomat visits PR students

li White

Russia’s “Father of Public Relations”, Alexander Borisov, spoke to the Public Relations Society of America yesterday afternoon in the student center.

Credit: Andrew popik

He’s a diplomat, a dean and a father of public relations in Russia. Not a short list of accomplishments by any standards.

Alexander Y. Borisov visited Kent State yesterday on the second stop of his Public Relations Society of America lecture tour. Borisov explained how he studied American public relations and implemented it in Russia.

Borisov said he came to a PRSA convention 15 years ago to absorb public relations in America. After networking with several PRSA executives, Borisov took his newfound information and fathered the study of public relations in Russia. Because of Borisov’s innovation, public relations in Russia is part of a global public relations industry worth $220 million.

“This trip is a nostalgic tour,” Borisov said. “It all began with PRSA inviting Russian interns to the United States.”

Then Borisov and the American PRSA executives partnered up again to create Russia’s own public relations society in July 1991.

The founding of public relations in Russia was sparked by the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. During this time, Russia made a transition from communism to capitalism. This marked dramatic changes in Russia, a place where people once had benefits such as free education and health care.

“During the Soviet Union, all education was free and the state was budgeted by the government,” Borisov said. “When transitions to a new economy and capitalism started, (Russians) realized they must be self-sustained. PR coincided with this new society in Russia.”

This accomplishment was no easy feat as the Communist Party was still a political stronghold and axed any business venture that would weaken its power, Borisov said.

Borisov offered advice to students facing similar difficulties who are trying to break into the public relations job market.

“Young public relations professionals must be honest,” Borisov said. “Reputation is very important, and you won’t succeed if you diminish that.”

President of the Kent State Public Relations Student Society of America and senior public relations major, Joe DiMiero said he believes it is interesting that honesty spans public relations in all nations.

“Credibility is universal,” DiMiero said. “It doesn’t matter what country you’re in; if you’re not honest, you can’t work in PR.”

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Ali White at [email protected].