It is imperative to focus on the essential reason Americans must unequivocally oppose the US-led NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
It is imperative to focus on the essential reason Americans must unequivocally oppose the US-led NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. There are, of course, many reasons–the five-week campaign having utterly failed in all of its declared purposes. But for all its other failings, the US-led bombing must be opposed first and foremost because it is a... Read More
A baccalaureate should be an occasion to celebrate the present and express optimism about the future, but I must come to you today with very bad news about Russia, my subject of study, and therefore with great alarm about the future. If America’s post-cold war triumphalism has led you to believe we are now safer... Read More
The monstrous events of September 11 have given the United States a second historic chance, after the squandered...
The monstrous events of September 11 have given the United States a second historic chance, after the squandered opportunity of the 1990s, to establish a truly cooperative relationship with post-Communist Russia. Such a relationship is essential for coping with today’s real security dangers, which exceed those of the cold war and make the United States... Read More
Barely six months after Russian President Vladimir Putin became the Bush Administration’s most valuable ally in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, the promise of a historic US-Russian partnership is being squandered. Indeed, this second chance to establish a truly cooperative relationship with post-Communist Russia–after the lost opportunity of the 1990s–is being gravely endangered by... Read More
The Bush Administration and its cheerleaders in the media are claiming that the “remarkable success” of the US war in Iraq proves its opponents were “spectacularly wrong”–even, some charge, unpatriotic. Intimidated by these allegations and the demonstration of overwhelming American military power, many critics of the war are falling silent. Indeed, the chairman of the... Read More
This article is an expanded version of Stephen F. Cohen's commentary in the May 5 issue.
Ever since the main military campaign ended in mid-April, the Bush Administration and its cheerleaders in the media have claimed that “the remarkable success” of the US war in Iraq proves its opponents were “spectacularly wrong”–even, some charge, unpatriotic. (Quoting a Washington “humorist,” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld gloated, “Never have so many been so... Read More
The arrest last month of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the principal owner of Russia's biggest oil company, Yukos, and the...
The arrest last month of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the principal owner of Russia’s biggest oil company, Yukos, and the richest of the country’s seventeen state-anointed billionaire oligarchs, on charges of fraud and tax evasion has put Russia back in the forefront of US media attention. But is the story being reported the full, or essential, one?... Read More
Ukraine's election was a call to arms.
Thirteen years after the end of the Soviet Union, the American press establishment seemed eager to turn Ukraine’s protested presidential election on November 21 into a new cold war with Russia. Still worse, its greatest enthusiasts were not the usual Russophobes but influential opinion-makers and publications reputed to be exemplars of balanced, moderate, even liberal,... Read More
UKRAINE'S POLL: 'THE REAL STORY'
New York City
Re The Nation‘s coverage of the elections in Ukraine and Stephen F. Cohen’s “The Media’s New Cold War” [Jan. 31]: While I share Cohen’s concerns about the manipulation of the story by ideological pundits and their eagerness to turn the elections into a revival of cold war rivalry between Russia and America, I fear he... Read More
The most important event of the late twentieth century began twenty years ago this month.
The most important event of the late twentieth century began twenty years ago this month. On March 11, 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union, and within a few weeks the full-scale reformation he attempted to carry out both inside his country and in its cold war relations with the West, particularly the... Read More
The unfolding conflict over US plans to build missile defense components near post-Soviet Russia, in Poland and the...
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article–originally published in the July 10, 2006, issue of The Nation–appears with a new introduction by the author restating his analyses and arguments in the context of recent developments. Two reactions to this article were particularly noteworthy when it first appeared in The Nation almost exactly one year ago. Judging by activity... Read More
The cold war never really ended: Russia's continuing instability and weapons of mass destruction, combined with...
The collapse of the Soviet Union was far from inevitable: A historic opportunity to democratize and marketize Russia by...
The most consequential event of the second half of the twentieth century took place surreptitiously fifteen years ago at a secluded hunting lodge in the Belovezh Forest near Minsk. On December 8, 1991, heads of three of the Soviet Union’s fifteen republics, led by Boris Yeltsin of Russia, met there to sign documents abolishing that... Read More
After four years of war, complete withdrawal from Iraq is the only way to redeem our nation for the death and...
Unless the United States withdraws its military forces from Iraq in the near future, a war that began as an unnecessary invasion based on deception and predictably grew into a disastrous occupation will go down in history as a terrible crime, if it hasn’t already. For Americans of conscience, Iraq has therefore become the paramount... Read More
Why aren't the presidential candidates talking about Moscow's impact on our national security?
None of the remaining presidential candidates have seriously addressed, or even seem fully aware of, what should be our greatest foreign policy concern–Russia’s singular capacity to endanger or enhance our national security. Overshadowed by the US disaster in Iraq, Moscow’s importance will continue long after that war ends. Despite its diminished status following the Soviet... Read More
Overshadowed by the US disaster in Iraq, Moscow's impact on our foreign policy will continue long after that war ends....
Neither of the two major American presidential candidates has seriously addressed, or even seems fully aware of, what should be our greatest foreign policy concern–Russia’s singular capacity to endanger or enhance our national security. Overshadowed by the US disaster in Iraq, Moscow’s importance will continue long after that war ends. Despite its diminished status following... Read More
The freeing of the "zeks" confronted Russia with living memories of the Terror.
This essay is adapted from a much longer version in a volume in honor of Robert Conquest, Political Violence, edited by Paul Hollander and to be published in November by Palgrave Macmillan. The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past. –William Faulkner Faulkner was right, and not only about America. Russia’s new... Read More
A wide-ranging Nation interview with the former Soviet president.
On September 23, Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel and her husband, Stephen F. Cohen, a contributing editor, interviewed former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at his foundation in Moscow. With the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall approaching, we believed that the leader most responsible for that historic event should be heard, on... Read More
Obama’s celebrated “reset” of US-Russia relations is limited and unstable. A fundamental transformation requires...
This article is adapted from the new epilogue for the paperback edition of Stephen F. Cohen’s book Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War, which will be published by Columbia University Press in July. An enduring existential reality has been lost in Washington’s post–cold war illusions and the fog of... Read More
I may have been delusional about my golf game, but not about Frank Beard's.
If heroes inspire you to do—or, as in my case, not do—something, in sports mine was a teenage golfer named Frank Beard. Our chance encounter at a tournament in Paducah, Kentucky, in the mid-1950s, when we were about 16, changed, in the sport’s idiom, my life’s trajectory. Later, my Russian friends insisted, in their idiom,... Read More
Twenty years later, questions endure about how and why the nation abruptly dissolved.
This essay is an expanded version of an article that appeared in The Nation on the fifteenth anniversary of the end of the Soviet Union. Asked to evaluate the French Revolution nearly 200 years later, the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai was famously reported to have replied, “Too early to say.” Though apocryphal, the long perspective... Read More
Twenty years after the end of the Soviet Union, the relationship features more elements of cold-war conflict than of...
This article was originally posted at HuffingtonPost.com. The United States and Russia are at a potentially fateful crossroads in their relations. Twenty years after the end of the Soviet Union, the relationship features more elements of cold-war conflict than of stable cooperation. Still more, recent developments, including presidential campaigns and other political changes under way... Read More
The vilifying charges levelled at Russia's president by the American media could undermine rational U.S. policy-making.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared at Reuters. American media coverage of Vladimir Putin, who today began his third term as Russia’s president and 13th year as its leader, has so demonized him that the result may be to endanger U.S. national security. For nearly 10 years, mainstream press reporting, editorials and op-ed articles have... Read More
A book by the famous British historian was not published in Russia because the Moscow publisher discovered too many...
Editor's Note: This article has been updated with an exchange (see end) between Orlando Figes and Stephen Cohen and Peter Reddaway on June 13, 2012. Many Western observers believe that Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime has in effect banned a Russian edition of a widely acclaimed 2007 book by the British historian Orlando Figes, The Whisperers:... Read More
London Re Peter Reddaway and Stephen F. Cohen’s June 11 “Dishonoring Stalin’s Victims,” about my 2007 book The Whisperers: in a book as large and complex as The Whisperers unintended errors are not unusual. Normally they are dealt with by a writer and his publisher without the intervention of the press or other academics given... Read More