Lev E. Dobriansky, 89; Professor and Foe of Communism

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lev E. Dobriansky, 89, an ambassador to the Bahamas, a professor of economics at Georgetown University and an anti- communist activist, died of a heart attack Jan. 30 at his residence in Springfield.

Dr. Dobriansky was the author in 1959 of the Captive Nations Week Resolution, celebrated annually by Congress and the White House for nearly five decades. The resolution stated that the Soviet Union enslaved a number of non-Russian nations, that Soviet dominance would not last and that one day the nations would be free.

He was active in Central and Eastern European ethnic communities in the United States, especially the Ukrainian American community. He served as president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America and was a strong advocate for Ukrainian independence. He also played a leading role in having legislation passed to erect a statue of Taras Shevchenko, a famous Ukrainian poet and freedom fighter. The statue is near Dupont Circle.

Dr. Dobriansky, who was born in New York City, received an undergraduate degree in 1941, a master's degree in 1943 and a doctorate in 1951, all from New York University.

He was an instructor in economics at NYU from 1942 to 1948 before moving to Georgetown, where he was a professor of economics. In 1970, he co-founded the university's Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems, serving as its director. He retired from the university in 1987.

He served as ambassador to the Bahamas from 1982 to 1986, during the Reagan administration, and held a number of other government positions. They included service as a consultant for the State and Defense departments and the U.S. Information Agency, as well as intelligence agencies and congressional committees.

Dr. Dobriansky was the author of numerous books and articles on foreign policy, national security and economic issues. He was involved in establishing the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation; the Capitol Hill memorial was dedicated June 12.

He received many awards, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Julia Dobriansky of Springfield, and two daughters, Paula Dobriansky of the District and Larisa Dobriansky of Arlington.

-- Joe Holley

© 2008 The Washington Post Company