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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 Kennan’s notable contributions as a leading scholar and statesman.

The end of the Cold War unleashed a host of issues that made Russia, others in the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Eastern Europe crucial to U.S. interests. Established in 1997, the Kennan chair attests to CFR’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 F. Kennan (1904–2005)

George F. Kennan
George F. Kennan (Council on Foreign Relations Archive)

George F. 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.

Kennan joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1925 and served until 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, although he returned briefly to serve as U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia from 1961 to 1963.

After leaving the Foreign Service for the last time in 1963, 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. He helped establish the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 1974. Kennan was the author of seventeen books, two of which were awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Kennan joined CFR in 1946 and was a member for fifty-nine years.

George F. Kennan Senior Fellows in Russian and Eurasian Studies

Stephen Sestanovich

Paula J. Dobriansky