Stephen Cohen’s legacy
The historian Stephen Cohen died on September 18 at the age of 81. Though he became something of a pariah among American Russianists in his final years, particularly after 2014 (thanks to his views on the Ukraine conflict, which often dovetailed with Kremlin talking points), Cohen was perhaps best known professionally for his 1973 biography about Nikolai Bukharin, the Bolshevik revolutionary he believed represented an alternative path for Soviet socialism that derailed into collectivization and mass violence because of Joseph Stalin. Cohen had similar misgivings about Boris Yeltsin undoing Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika.
This week, Meduza published an obituary for Cohen written by Ivan Kurilla, a professor of history and international relations at European University at St. Petersburg. For another perspective on Cohen’s legacy among Russia scholars, “The Naked Pravda” turns to historian Sean Guillory, the digital scholarship curator in the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Pittsburgh and a fellow podcaster.
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