FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 1998
Release No. 49-98

CONTACT: Catherine Stearns
PHONE: (202) 401-1190
E-MAIL: cstearns@usia.gov



United States Information Agency
- News Release

RUSSIAN POLITICAL FIGURES ALEXANDER YAKOVLEV,
VLADIMIR NAUMOV IN U.S. AS USIA INTERNATIONAL VISITORS


Washington, D.C. — Alexander Yakovlev, prominent Russian political figure and Chairman of the Russian Presidential Commission for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression, and Vladimir Naumov, his Deputy, are in Washington to participate in the U. S. Information Agency's International Visitor Program and by invitation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).

Mr. Yakovlev and Mr. Naumov are participating in USHMM meetings and lectures this week.
Mr. Yakovlev was guest of honor at a luncheon September 10 co-hosted by USIA Director Joseph Duffey and Dr. James Billington, Librarian of Congress. September 13 through 20 Mr. Yakovlev and Mr. Naumov will undertake a series of meetings under the auspices of USIA's International Visitor Program. They will meet with Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and other high-level State Department officials, then attend meetings in New York City, and at Columbia and Yale Universities, among other activities. Columbia University is Mr. Yakovlev's American alma mater, as he was one of the first Russian Fulbright grantees in 1958-59.

Mr. Yakovlev currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Russian Public Television Company, and President of the International Democracy Foundation. He has figured prominently in the last decades of Soviet and Russian political history. In his 13-year career with the Central Committee of the Communist Party he developed a reputation as a reformer, and was then sent into political exile in 1973 as Ambassador to Canada. In 1983 he returned to Moscow as an advisor to President Gorbachev. Since becoming head of the Commission for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression in 1992, he has uncovered evidence of abuses by Soviet leaders and worked to rehabilitate victims of purges. He also secured copies of Russian archival documents pertaining to the Holocaust for the USHMM. As President of the International Democracy Foundation, he is supervising the editing and printing of Soviet historical archives.

Mr. Naumov is a professional historian and archivist who has studied repression in the Soviet Union for 15 years. Before the creation of the Commission for Rehabilitation, he was already researching Soviet archives for the truth about the purges of the 1930s and 1940s. He was a major contributor to a book on political repression, published in 1991, and his work with the Commission for Rehabilitation has produced five collections of historical documents dealing with repressions.

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The United States Information Agency, headed by Dr. Joseph Duffey, is an independent foreign affairs agency within the executive branch that explains and supports U.S. foreign policy and national security interests abroad through a wide range of exchange and information programs. The Agency promotes mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through a series of educational and cultural exchange activities.

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