Professor Cohen’s latest pro-Putin project

Stephen F. Cohen

There’s no keeping up with the multitudinous mischievous machinations of veteran Kremlinologist Stephen F. Cohen. Russia’s thug-in-chief, Vladimir Putin, has no more high-profile apologist anywhere in the Western world than the 76-year-old NYU and Princeton prof. Every time we turn around, Cohen – almost invariably in league with his moneybags wife, Nation publisher/editor Katrina vanden Heuvel – has come up with some new stunt, some new angle, some new scam designed to pump up ol’ Vlad’s image in the West.

Cathy Young

In mid October, Cathy Young reported at the Daily Beast on one of Cohen’s latest capers. It appears that back in the Cold War days, Cohen helped found something called the American Committee on East-West Accord (ACEWA), one of those groups that, in the name of peace, “consistently urged U.S. trade, foreign policy and arms control concessions to the USSR.” Established in 1974, the ACEWA was shuttered in 1992, in the wake of the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Now Cohen, along with some allies, appears to be reviving the ACEWA – kind of. The name of the new organization, the American Committee for East-West Accord, is almost exactly identical to that of the old one – the only difference is that “on” has been replaced by “for.” (The change, Cohen explains, reflects his desire to be “more proactive.”) The group, whose stated objective is to promote “open, civilized, informed debate” on U.S.-Russian relations and ensure “a conclusive end to cold war and its attendant dangers,” had its formal launch in Washington, D.C., on November 4.

WASHINGTON - MARCH 25: (AFP OUT) Former US Senator and NBA player Bill Bradley speaks during a taping of "Meet the Press" at the NBC studios March 25, 2007 in Washington, DC. A former Democratic presidential hopeful, Bradley spoke about his new book, "The New American Story." (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images for Meet the Press)
Bill Bradley

As Young notes, the whole thing “couldn’t sound more benign.” The seven-member board includes some soothing, solid establishment names: Bill Bradley, the former U.S. Senator from New Jersey; Jack Matlock, the former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union; and John Pepper, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble.

But Cohen is one of two official co-founders, and this is plainly his baby. The other co-founder is something of a wild card: he’s Gilbert Doctorow, whom Young describes as a “Brussels-based U.S. expatriate and self-styled ‘professional Russia-watcher.’” Vanden Heuvel, though not officially affiliated with the ACEWA, is a major player, promoting the venture in The Nation and “mentioning the group’s activities to her contacts in Congress.” Also heavily involved is vanden Heuvel’s dad, former UN ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel: he’s on the group’s board, was identified as the group’s president in its incorporating papers, and has allowed the address of his philanthropy, the Melinda and William J. vanden Heuvel Foundation, to be listed as the ACEWA’s Manhattan address.

William and Melinda vanden Heuvel

To our surprise, Cohen, in a conversation with Young, actually tried to walk back some of his own more outrageously Putin-friendly statements – though not very effectively. He admitted that when discussing Putin’s invasion of Crimea on TV, he’d been “insufficiently critical of Russia’s contribution to the crisis,” but maintained that he’d taken a strong pro-Putin line as a “conscious strategy” intended to counter what he saw as the mainstream media’s excessively anti-Putin spin. “Russia’s side of the story was not being told, and I knew I was going to get grief for trying to tell it as I understood it,” Cohen insisted. He added that if he’d been insufficiently nuanced, it was, well, because his TV time is always so brief. In response to his claim, Young pointed out that Cohen has been just as uncritical of Putin in his articles for the Nation, where his wife gives him enough space to be as nuanced as nuanced can be.

Cohen’s efforts at backpedaling are, it must be said, rather entertaining. But the major accomplishment of Young’s article is to draw our attention to Doctorow, Cohen’s co-founder. Unlike Cohen, Doctorow has virtually no profile in the U.S. He maintains his own blog, writes for an obscure Russian news and opinion website, and last year contributed an article on Putin to the Nation. There’s pretty much only one reason he’s worth paying attention to – and that reason is that, as Young puts it, he’s even “more pro-Kremlin” than Cohen.

How pro-Kremlin? We’ll get into that tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Professor Cohen’s latest pro-Putin project

  1. Of coarse We should express outrage & sympathy to the French who have now suffered terrorism although NOT as bad as what Ukraine has endured from Putin’s terrorism,,,their territory is STILL intact whereas Ukraine lost Crimea and endures “frozen conflict” after Putin’s drive to create NovoRosiya failed…and is the death of 200 French really worse than the death of over 6,000 Ukrainians?

    We well remember how the French & Germans snickered and pretended to be outraged and sympathetic when Putin invaded & annexed Crimea–they actually had to be shamed into imposing ” slap on the wrist” sanctions against Russia by Obama! (who is more subtle but as shameless as Trump!). Everyone conveniently has forgotten the Budapest Memorandum and what was promised to Ukraine if only Ukraine would give up its Nuclear Weapons–the Third largest stockpile in the world at the time. France/Germany are still trying to lift the sanctions by demanding that stubborn Ukraine correct its corruption ( as though they and Putin are NOT corrupt!) and give in to his demands so that he can have veto power and control over Ukrainian political and financial affairs. In fact they have threatened that if Ukraine doesn’t abide by Minsk 2 unilaterally -even if Putin’s separatists violate the provisions- they will lift the sanctions which they have been itching to do since day one.

    After all, why irritate Putin when so many (e.g Trump) consider him an ally of the West in the war against ISIS (even though so far his fighter jets have only been bombing forces actually fighting ISIS that the USA has been lukewarm supporting).The prevailing.attitude seems to be -give Putin what he wants so we can win him over to “our” side. Let Ukraine subsidize his puppet governments in eastern Ukraine and let Ukraine pay for the MH17 Russian atrocity that occurred on once Ukraine’s territory that was NOT controlled by Ukraine at the time but by Putinistas. And of course Ukraine must repay the 3 Billion$$$ that Putin loaned (bribed) to Yanukovych to keep Ukraine from joining the European Union (as though Europe actually wanted it) that led to the EuroMaidan -Revolution of Dignity.

    Ukraine should offer its European friends: France/Germany a way to deal with ISIS by mediating the same formula established at Minsk as a sure way to reach a settlement between Putin and Ukraine. Ukraine can explain to France/Germany that they should NOT irritate ISIS but provide accommodations like Ukraine is expected to provide for Putin. Parts of their countries could be given to ISIS Separatists just like Putin’s Separatists…they won’t even have to go through the procedure of phony elections that Putin likes -like the quickie in Crimea…since ISIS doesn’t believe in elections anyway-because those are not in the Koran. Europe can subsidize the extension of ISIS Caliphate just as Ukraine is expected to subsidize Putinista territory.

    Europe & Obama keep telling Ukraine …there is NO military solution only diplomatic so we have to remind Europe & Obama of this winning formula that they say will work for Ukraine-Putin should also work for Europe ISIS. Not only should Amnesty be granted to the ISIS killers as Ukraine is urged to do with Putinistas BUT they should be IN the government Parliaments to represent the interests of ISIS …similar to what Ukraine is supposed to do with Putinistas!

    What could possibly go wrong with such a MINSK formula??? If Minsk 2 is good for Ukraine then Minsk 3 will surely work for France Germany and ISIS and everyone will be happy and peace and harmony will reign for ever more!

    Putin says east Ukraine crisis may yet turn into ‘frozen conflict’
    MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday there was a risk that the situation in east Ukraine may turn into a “frozen conflict”. “I would not overdramatize the delay in implementing the Minsk Agreements. Despite some difficulties, they are being implemented and, which is…

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