New York University Professor Stephen Cohen has been awarded the 2011 Liberty Prize in recognition of his contributions to developing cultural ties between the United States and Russia.
The Liberty Prize was established in 1999 by three cultural figures of Russian origin: artist Grisha Bruskin, literary and music critic Solomon Volkov, and writer Alexander Genis. The selection jury noted that Cohen had advanced interest in Russia through his scholarship.
Cohen, a professor in NYU’s Department of Russian and Slavic Studies, has authored: Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography; Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History Since 1917; Sovieticus: American and Soviet Realities; Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia; and Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives, just published in an expanded paperback edition.
His most recent work, The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag after Stalin (2010), tells the stories of those who survived the dictator’s brutal imprisonment. The work is based on interviews conducted with former inmates over their 30 years of visiting Moscow. The resulting narrative recounts the prisoners’ post-Gulag fates, from their liberation and return to Soviet society to their long struggle to salvage what remained of their lives and their search for justice. A discussion of the work, held in November 2010 at the NYU Bookstore, may be viewed here.
Cohen, also professor of politics emeritus at Princeton University, was a CBS News consultant for two decades and is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
He will be presented with the award at an October 21 ceremony at the Russian consulate in New York City. Reporters wishing to attend must RSVP to Edward Lozansky at Lozansky@gmail.com.
The Liberty Prize is sponsored by the Washington-based organization Russia House, the publishing house Kontinent, and the American University in Moscow. Previous winners include: writers Vassily Aksyonov and Vladimir Sorokin; poets Lev Losev and Lev Rubinstein; Librarian of Congress James Billington, Thomas Krens, former director of the Solomon Guggenheim Museum; Mikhail Baryshnikov; and New Yorker Editor David Remnick.