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From: Dmitry Sidorov (Mitsidorov@aol.com)
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2005
Subject: Mr. Saunders letter published on December 6, 2005

I was not surprised by Paul Saunders' response to my story in Kommersant on December 5, 2005, regarding a proposed Washington think tank. The idea for the new think tank was the brainchild of Kremlin political advisor Gleb Pavlovsky and Nixon Center President Dimitri Simes who discussed it with the Russian mogul Oleg Deripaska.

The public judges journalists by their ability to unveil and analyze facts other people often try to hide. In that respect I feel sorry for Mr. Saunders, who probably limited his letter-writing research to information received from his boss. As a good subordinate, Mr. Sanders tried to do his best to defend the Nixon Center and Mr. Simes' reputation by attacking mine.

But Mr. Saunders, and perhaps Mr. Simes too, rushed to compose the Nixon Center's response to my story before they read another story on the same subject in The Moscow Times also published on December 6, 2005.

The Moscow Times quoted Mr. Pavlovsky and Mr.Oganov (Mr. Deripaska's spokesman), who confirmed the facts I laid out in my piece. I am grateful to David Johnson for having The Moscow Times article on the the List, thus enabling readers to decide if my conclusions are correct.

Mr. Saunders' suggestion that I am something other than a professional journalist troubles me, and it should trouble him as well. In my view the character assassination contained in the Nixon Center's letter about me does a disservice to the free and honest exchange of ideas and information the center should be promoting. The Nixon Center's reaction to my story is reminiscent of the old Soviet style that supposedly convinced Mr. Simes to come to the U.S. 32 years ago.

One of my good friends in DC once told me: "In most cases it took courage for people to oppose the Soviet regime and find a way to the West, but it takes twice as much courage to take Soviet mentality out of one's system".

Dmitry Sidorov
Kommersant Publishing
Tel. 202.248.8191
Cell. 202.299.4623
E-mail: mitsidorov@aol.com
3700 Massachusetts Ave, NW,
Suite 317, Washington, DC, 20016.