William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT:

TAKE THAT, VLADIMIR PUTIN! – FROM POLITICO:   The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts last week quietly renamed its “Russian Lounge” — a room featuring the country’s art and culture paid for by one of its richest men, Vladimir Potanin — amid a backlash against Russia since the invasion of Ukraine.  In 2011, Potanin donated $5 million to the Kennedy Center. He paid to remodel the existing “Golden Circles Lounge” to create a meeting room reflecting the aesthetic of his native country. It included two new pieces of art commissioned by famed Russian artist Valery Koshlyakov.  The space reopened this week under the name “Opera House Circles Lounge.” “Circles” refers to a high-level group of donors to the Kennedy Center. The lounge will be used as an event space, meeting room, and private lounge for those donors.  Kennedy Center spokesperson Eileen Andrews said that there was a term limit on the branding of the lounge, but separately referenced the war in Ukraine as a factor in the renaming.  “The naming period for the Lounge has now ended,” Andrews said in a statement. “Due to the tragedy in Ukraine, the Kennedy Center and the [Potanin] Foundation have mutually agreed to no longer use the name Russian Lounge.”  Potanin, who has been closely tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin, stepped down from the board of trustees of the Guggenheim Museum, the New York Times reported on March 2. Well, that's that. The final blow against the Kremlin. When you've lost the lounge at the Kennedy Center, you've lost the world. It's the same as not being invited to a Georgetown party. Ah, victory!

March 19, 2022