The Kennan Institute was established in 1974 with the mission of helping Americans to understand Russia. We do so by sponsoring research, pubishing books and reports, and organizing an active series of public lectures. In a typical year, we host between seventy and eighty public lectures and seminars which are attended by some 4,000 people. These programs purposefully reflect the wide diversity of opinion that exists about Russia from within and without the Russian Federation.

As our budget is limited, we very rarely pay honoraria or issue invitations to bring speakers from abroad. However, we often take advantage of potential speakers who are coming to the United States. Our past programs have included presentations by both Egor Ligachev and Mikhail Gorbachev, by both Boris Gryzlov and Galina Starovoitova, by both Gleb Pavlovsky and Aleksandr Yablokov. These appearences are central to fulfillment of our mission as they allow American audiences to form their own opinions about leading Russian public figures.

The appearance of Boris Berezovsky on December 10 is in keeping with this long standing tradition of presenting prominent Russian public figures. As is our normal practice, we are not paying Mr. Berezovsky an honorarium, nor are we paying for his travel costs. We have not invited him to the United States, nor have we had any role in arranging for his travel from England.

Moreover, neither the Kennan Institute nor its parent organization the Woodrow Wilson Center are receiving any money from Mr. Berezovsky or any representative of Mr. Berezovsky. To do so would represent a conflict of interest.

Rather more simply, we are taking advantage of this prominent public figure's presence in the United States to present him to an American audience so that Americans can form an opinion of him on their own.

Blair A. Ruble
Director, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center

Russian translation