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Russian billionaire gives Kennedy Center $5M

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Billionaire Russian investor Vladimir Potanin is making a $5 million gift to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington to mark its 40th anniversary and support its programs.

The gift announced Thursday includes additional funding to renovate an Opera House lounge. It will be renamed the Russian Lounge when it reopens in late 2012.

Potanin says the Kennedy Center has played a key role in building cultural relations between the U.S. and Russia. Over the years, Russia's Mariinsky Ballet, Opera and Orchestra have performed there, as well as the Bolshoi Ballet.

Potanin's foundation will guide the design of the new lounge to showcase Russian arts and culture. It will be the fourth lounge dedicated to a country or region, along with spaces devoted to Africa, Israel and China.

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