The most pressing issue is of course Tymoshenko. Her blonde braids and angel eyes are now behind bars, and this master media operator has made sure the world knows. America and Europe are on your case, and they mean business. Your card has been marked and your credibility battered. Trade agreements are now being questioned and international voices are starting to call you a dictator. In a word, you’re buggered, but don’t worry – there’s a way out of this.
First it requires that you recognise the PR reality of the situation. She is the good-guy to your bad; the beauty to your beast; the golden-haired, tower-trapped damsel to your terror-intending twisted heart. Think Hollywood, think Disney – this is classic movie material, and in the movies, the good guy always wins; especially if America has anything to do with it.
Within the predicament lies the solution. People love a happy ending, and this story is waiting for one. Everyone knows that it requires a white knight to come riding in. If that white knight isn’t you, Viktor, then you’ll be immortalised as a villain on the world stage. What are you waiting for? Get that slender frame into your shining armour, aboard your trusty steed, and get thee hence to the tower, to slay the bad-guys and rescue brave Yulia. The (new) bad-guys have already been conveniently lined up, in the form of the justice system and an antiquated legal framework. This will clearly be a messy slaying, so make sure the cameras are rolling.
With Yulia now free and Europe off your back, you’ll need to turn your attention to Moscow. You were recently shown walking with Mr Putin and Mr Medvedev, but the body language of the terrible twins was such as to shut you out and make you look desperate. This cannot be allowed to happen again, Viktor! You’re bigger than both of them put together, and cannot be made to look like a bodyguard. But fear not, the answer is easy.
Next time you go for a walk in the park with them, take a mobile phone. If they start to do that closing-you-out thing again, pretend to take a call. This way the cameras will make you look like you were too busy and too important to talk to them face-to-face, and they’ll look like they’re being made to wait until you’ve finished your conversation. Simple is beautiful, Viktor. Simple is beautiful.
After you’ve sorted out the terrible twins, you’ll need to get over to America and meet Barack Obama. You’ve only been photographed meeting with him once, and it looks like you’re asking for an autograph. You’ll need to go again, this time with a White House invite. Most world leaders tour the big American TV stations and chat shows during their trip, with a bit of Oprah and/or Larry King. How’s your English coming along, Viktor?
After all that, you’ll have to return home, because you won’t get re-elected on good looks alone. You’re first priority is the country’s finances, because the PR situation in this area (to say nothing of the financial one) is looking desperate. The IMF is ignoring you, China is only cherry-picking assets from a distance, and your oligarch backers have been handed most state assets worth stealing. Add to that the request that you remove state subsidies for gas (a vote loser if ever there was one) and the situation really does look grim.
Fear not, dear Viktor, the answer is at-hand. We understand that land prices are still quite high, and that Russia is rather wealthy at the moment. Given that Crimea is a semi-autonomous region of Russian militarisation anyway, it seems strange for Ukraine to keep hold of it for the sake of ownership. Why not sell Crimea to Russia! You’d earn a fortune from it, and you could still go on holiday there. The nation’s financial headache would be cured in a heartbeat.
Of course, as with all our letters Viktor, the advice is provided on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, and is only designed to help. However, we strongly feel that the above represents your best chance of PR success. Good luck, Viktor. God knows you need it.