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Stephen Frand Cohen (born 1938) is an American scholar of Russian studies. His academic work concentrates on developments in Russia since the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and the country's relationship with the United States.

Education and career

Stephen Cohen was born in 1938 in Owensboromarker, Kentuckymarker, and attended Indiana Universitymarker, where he earned a B.S. degree and an M.A. degree in Russian Studies. While studying in England, he went on a four-week trip to the Soviet Union, where he became interested in its history and politics. Cohen, who received his Ph.D. in government and Russian studies at Columbia University, became a professor of politics and Russian studies at Princeton University in 1968, where he taught until 1998.

Cohen is well known in both Russian and American circles. He is a close personal friend of former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, advised former President George H.W. Bush in the late 1980s, helped Nikolai Bukharin's widow rehabilitate his name during the Soviet era, and met Stalin's daughter, Svetlana.

Since 1998, Cohen has been professor of Russian Studies and History at New York Universitymarker, where he teaches a course titled Russia Since 1917. He has written several books, including, Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History Since 1917; Sovieticus: American and Soviet Realities; Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938; and most recently, Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia. He is also a CBS News consultant as well as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Cohen has appeared on the Charlie Rose Show thirty times as of May 2007.

Cohen has a son and a daughter from his first marriage to opera singer Lynne Blair, from whom he is divorced. Cohen is now married to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the progressive magazine The Nation, where he is also a contributing editor. They have one daughter.


  • Stephen Cohen's lectures, Russia Since 1917. Spring Semester, 2008. NYU.

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