Kennedy Center quietly renames its 'Russian Lounge' after Ukraine invasion

"Due to the tragedy in Ukraine, the Kennedy Center and the [Potanin] Foundation have mutually agreed to no longer use the name Russian Lounge," a spokesperson said.


The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC, quietly renamed the room located on the Box Tier of the Opera House this past week—a space formerly called the "Russian Lounge." It is now called the "Opera House Circles Lounge."

The room, a luxurious multipurpose room used for events, meetings, and private occasions, features Russia's art and culture paid for by one of the center's significant donors, Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin. In 2011, after a gift by the Vladimir Potanin Foundation in honor of the center's 40th anniversary, an architectural design and artistic competition was held to renovate the space.

In 2014, according to the terms of the foundation's gift, the re-named Russian Lounge opened under the new title, celebrating Russian arts and culture, according to the center's website description of the room's storied history.

The site also stated that the room's naming rights have expired.

"In 2022, after the expiration of the naming rights, the space was re-opened as the Opera House Circles Lounge," the Kennedy Center's website reads.

A spokesperson for the Kennedy Center reaffirmed in a press statement that the time to change the name had arrived, but also hinted that the Ukraine-Russia conflict may have played a role in the change, Politico reported Friday.

"The naming period for the Lounge is now over," spokesperson Eileen Andrews said. "Due to the tragedy in Ukraine, the Kennedy Center and the [Potanin] Foundation have mutually agreed to no longer use the name Russian Lounge."

Potatin, still one of Russia's wealthiest men and a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has found himself on the outside of the American culture and arts community. He has recently lost his position as a board member of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City as well as his place on the advisory board of the Council of Forein Relations, according to Bloomberg News.

In an email obtained by Politico to the Kennedy Center's board of trustees, the center's president, Deborah Rutter, acknowledged the conflict behind the room.

"This is a complicated issue, and we are actively assessing the best way to address it in the short and long terms while still proceeding with our plan to invite donors back to all our Lounge spaces for the first time since COVID closures," she wrote.

Kennedy Center trustee Paolo Zampolli, meanwhile, suggested Thursday in an email to Rutter that the room is renamed the "Ukraine Lounge" in solidarity with the embattled country. He also offered to pay for the remodel.

"It's great that finally we changed the name," Zampolli, who is the United Nations ambassador of Dominica, said in a phone interview, Politico reported.


Join and support independent free thinkers!

We’re independent and can’t be cancelled. The establishment media is increasingly dedicated to divisive cancel culture, corporate wokeism, and political correctness, all while covering up corruption from the corridors of power. The need for fact-based journalism and thoughtful analysis has never been greater. When you support The Post Millennial, you support freedom of the press at a time when it's under direct attack. Join the ranks of independent, free thinkers by supporting us today for as little as $1.

Support The Post Millennial

Remind me next month

To find out what personal data we collect and how we use it, please visit our Privacy Policy

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
© 2024 The Post Millennial, Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information