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Author`s name Michael Simpson

Is Berezovsky to Lecture to Americans?

Several years ago Berezovsky was considered to be the most notorious Russian gangster
On December 10, Boris Berezovsky was expected to deliver a lecture at Washington's Kennan Institute. During the lecture, the political emigrant would have highly likely alleged that "Russia is in for an authoritarism epoch which has been proved by the parliamentary election and so on." However, Boris Berezovsky was not granted a visa to the US. 

The US Department of State issued no comments on the issue, as it believes the situation is quite simple. After all, the delay with Berezovsky's visa is quite understandable. His recent visit to Georgia with a falsified passport has caused much sensation. Berezovsky would have been hardly granted a visa to the US if he had presented a passport with the name of just another Platon Yelenin (the name under which Boris Berezovsky came to Georgia with a falsified passport). The US cannot be compared with Georgia, and tricks with passports would have had serious consequences there. On the other hand, Washington is perfectly aware of Berezovsky's reputation. Several years ago he was considered to be the most notorious Russian gangster.

The management of the Institute even published a special notice about the lecture to be delivered by Boris Berezovsky.  Director of the Kennan Institute Blair Ruble has emphasized that his organization invited Mr. Berezovsky not at the expense of the US taxpayers and even did not assist in organization of his visit to America. In this particular case with Berezovsky we just focus attention on his visit to the US to let him appear before the American audience, so that Americans could have their own opinion concerning Berezovsky, Blair Ruble says.

The statement was published before it was already clear that Berezovsky's visit to America had been put off. In fact, it is not clear yet if this visit will take place at all. The problem is that the political emigrant is still on the international wanted list on charges of a criminal case. The moment he leaves Great Britain he risks to be immediately jailed. His status of a political refugee is valid only on the territory of a country that has granted asylum to the refugee. In fact, if Boris Berezovsky steps the US territory, the American authorities are obliged to detain him first and then decide if he will be extradited to Russia or not. A question arises in this connection: is Boris Berezovsky such an important person for Washington to provoke a conflict with Moscow? He can hardly be such a person, indeed. With this visa delay the US has averted the conflict. On the other hand, Berezovsky's visit to America has been postponed only, not cancelled at all. It is not ruled out that he will after all deliver a lecture at Washington's Institute. This will happen when Washington decides it may derive some profit from this visit and lecture.