Lviv, October 31, 2017


Mr. Matthew Rojansky

Director, Kennan Institute

Wilson Center, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC


Dear Mr. Rojansky,

On behalf of the Ukrainian Association of the Kennan Institute alumni, let me express concern regarding the concert “For Unity!” scheduled for November 13, 2017 and co-sponsored by the Kennan Institute and the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The Kennan Institute has always underscored its non-partisan approach to analysis and research, while promoting mutual understanding and tolerance through cultural diplomacy events. However, the concert featuring Valery Gergiev, the director of the Mariinsky theater, and pianist Denis Matsuev – two well-known artists publicly supporting the Kremlin aggressive policies in Georgia, Syria and Ukraine, including the illegal annexation of Crimea – will compromise and damage the Kennan Institute’s reputation as a liberal democratic institution.

The cultural dialogue between the United States and Russia is important, but politics should stay out of it. It comes as a surprise that the Kennan Institute chooses to support pro-Kremlin players at a time when the Russian government censors various forms of independent artistic expression, holds prisoner a number of Crimean activists, and continues to wage war in Ukraine. The audience in Washington should demonstrate unity with independent voices, who fight for a free and democratic Russia, not with pro-Kremlin propagandists, who come to the US capital under the guise of cultural exchange only to endorse Putin’s policies.

In Ukraine, which has 1.6 million officially registered internally displaced persons from the Donbas and Crimea, this concert is viewed as a disrespectful gesture. Over the last week, we received several messages from various colleagues and institutions, questioning the logic of the Kennan Institute. It is difficult for us to explain such actions as the November 13 concert.

The Kennan alumni in Ukraine believe that it is time to organize an open public discussion of this subject in the nearest future. The alumni conference in Berlin should become the first step in this discussion.




Antonina Kolodii


Kennan Institute Alumni Association in Ukraine



CC:      William Pomeranz, Deputy Director of the Kennan Institute

Blair Ruble, Vice President for Programs, Wilson Center

Kateryna Smagliy, Director, Kennan Institute in Ukraine



Co-signed by Kennan Institute alumni in Ukraine:


  1. Iryna Bekeshkina
  2. Olena Borysova
  3. Kateryna Busol
  4. Dmytro Vovk
  5. Olexiy Haran
  6. Oleksandr Demyanchuk
  7. Gennadiy Druzenko
  8. Volodymyr Dubovyk
  9. Viktor Zablotsky
  10. Vitaliy Zhuhay
  11. Roman Kalytchak
  12. Pavlo Kirpenko
  13. Sergiy Kvit
  14. Mykhailo Kirsenko
  15. Ella Lamakh
  16. Oleh Lystopad
  17. Yuriy Matsiyevsky
  18. Mikhail Minakov
  19. Natalia Moussienko
  20. Oksana Nesterenko
  21. Yuriy Nosik
  22. Olga Nosova
  23. Lyuddmyla Pavlyuk
  24. Natalia Pohorila
  25. Oleksii Poznyak
  26. Oleksandr Potiekhin
  27. Andrian Prokip
  28. Sergey Rymarenko
  29. Mykola Riabchuk
  30. Victor Stepanenko
  31. Viktor Susak
  32. Sergiy Fedunyak
  33. Olga Filippova
  34. Nazar Kholod
  35. Grygorii Shamborovsky
  36. Oleg Yarosh
Лист випускників дослідницьких програм Інституту Кеннана в Україні щодо концерту “За Єдність!”

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