November 5, 2001 YUKOS Oil Company Donates $1 Million to Library for Efforts Focused on Russia

Contact: Jim Dickenson (301) 946-4222, | Deborah Louison, APCO Worldwide (202) 778-6333,

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today announced a gift of $1 million from the YUKOS Oil Company in support of two significant efforts at the Library focusing on Russia. Dr. Billington and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, YUKOS Chairman and CEO, met today at the Library to discuss the programs that YUKOS's gift will assist.

The newly authorized Center for Russian Leadership Development (permanent successor to the successful two-year pilot Open World Russian Leadership Program) will receive $500,000 for its Rule of Law Program. YUKOS Oil has pledged an additional $500,000 to support longer- term fellowships for Russian scholars and students with a wide range of interests and leadership potential to use the vast collections at the Library of Congress as an important part of an academic residency in Washington. These two efforts both will help provide a new generation of leaders in the Russian Federation.

"YUKOS Oil's leadership gift will help realize goals I have pursued while serving as Librarian of Congress," said Dr. Billington, who is a prominent scholar of Russian history and culture. "Congress has been very generous in its support of our effort to give Russia's next generation of leaders a brief but intensive professional and personal experience of America. The gift from YUKOS Oil will further that support and is evidence of the program's impact in Russia."

"Firm establishment of the rule of law within the Russian Federation is critical to our forward movement," said Mr. Khodorkovsky while presenting the gift. "Communication and professional development for the Russian and American judiciary through the Center for Russian Leadership Development are making a difference, and I am pleased to support the ongoing efforts of the Open World Program as well as other educational initiatives within the Library of Congress."

In 2000, the Open World Program brought 103 Russian judges to the United States to observe firsthand the American judicial system. This year senior federal judges are serving as hosts to 54 Russian judges in 15 American communities. Support from YUKOS Oil Company and other American and Russian corporations will allow a significant expansion of the program in 2002, which has been principally supported by federal appropriations of $29.8 million since it was first authorized in May 1999.

Dr. Billington is the founding chairman of the Open World Program and serves as interim chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Center for Russian Leadership Development at the Library of Congress. The board has established a bilateral Corporate Advisory Council. Dr. Billington invited Mr. Khodorkovsky to join the council, which will operate in 2002 with American and Russian co-chairs.

The European Division of the Library, in cooperation with the Office of Scholarly Programs and the newly established Kluge Center, will develop the fellowship program to bring young Russian scholars and advanced students to the Library beginning in 2002.


PR 01-167
ISSN 0731-3527