The George F. Kennan Chair in Russian and Eurasian Studies

The George F. Kennan Chair in Russian and Eurasian Studies stands as a tribute to Ambassador Kennan’s notable contributions as a leading scholar and statesman.

The end of the Cold War unleashed a host of issues that make Russia, others in the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Eastern Europe as crucial to U.S. interests as ever before. The Kennan Chair attests to the Council’s commitment to remain at the forefront of examining these issues through a full complement of research, study groups, timely publications, and general meetings.


George Kennan (1904-2005)

George Kennan was one of the most influential U.S. diplomats of the twentieth century. In 1947, his article, “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” appeared in Foreign Affairs under the pseudonym “X”, eventually becoming the single most widely reproduced and quoted article published by the journal.

Ambassador Kennan joined the Foreign Service in 1925 and served in it to 1953. Many of his postings were in the Soviet Union, and he became the U.S. ambassador to the USSR in 1952. He retired from the foreign service the next year, though he returned as U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia from 1961 to 1963.

After leaving the Foreign Service in 1953, Ambassador Kennan spent much of his career affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. He remained a wise and respected voice on Soviet issues through the decades of the Cold War and into the post-Soviet era as well. He helped establish the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies at the Smithsonian in 1975. He was the author of seventeen books, to of which were awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Ambassador Kennan joined the Council in 1946 and was a member for 59 years.

George F. Kennan Senior Fellows in Russian and Eurasian Studies:

2001–  Stephen Sestanovich
1997–2001  Paula J. Dobriansky