Stephen F. Cohen, Influential Historian of Russia, Dies at 81

“Cohen’s thesis is that Yeltsin, rather than Russia’s first democratic leader, was a neo-czarist bumbler who destroyed a democratization process that, in fact, should be credited to Mikhail Gorbachev,” Robert D. Kaplan wrote in a Times review. “Cohen is particularly scathing toward American journalists, whom he depicts as overly influenced by the prosperity of a small, rapacious upper class in the major Russian cities, and who seldom ventured out into the countryside to see the terrible price of the reformers’ handiwork.”

Stephen Frand Cohen was born in Indianapolis on Nov. 25, 1938, the older of two youngsters of Marvin and Ruth (Frand) Cohen. His father owned a jewellery retailer and a golf course in Hollywood, Fla. Stephen and his sister, Judith, attended faculties in Owensboro, Ky., however Stephen graduated in 1956 from the Pine Crest School, a non-public faculty in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

He beloved the novels of Hemingway. As an undergraduate at Indiana University, he went to England on a study-abroad program. He had saved $300 for a facet journey to Pamplona to run with the bulls. But an commercial he noticed for a 30-day, $300 journey to the usS.R. modified his life.

Back at Indiana University, he gave up plans to be a golf professional and took up Russian research. He earned a bachelor’s diploma in economics and public coverage in 1960 and a grasp’s in Russian research in 1962. In 1969, he acquired a doctorate in that topic from Columbia University.

Professor Cohen’s marriage in 1962 to the opera singer Lynn Blair resulted in divorce. He married Ms. vanden Heuvel in 1988. In addition to her, he’s survived by a son, Andrew, and a daughter, Alexandra Cohen, from his first marriage; one other daughter, Nicola Cohen, from his second marriage; a sister, Judith Lefkowitz; and 4 grandchildren.

His Columbia dissertation on Mr. Bukharin’s financial concepts grew into his first e-book, copies of which reached Soviet dissidents, the Okay.G.B. in Moscow, and finally Mr. Gorbachev, who put Professor Cohen on his visitor listing for the 1987 Gorbachev-Reagan summit in Washington.

Professor Cohen taught at Princeton from 1968 to 1998, rising to full professor of politics and Russian research, and at New York University thereafter till his retirement in 2011. His final e-book, revealed in 2019, was “War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate.”

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