Sharon Tennison: On Stephen F. Cohen

A note from ACEWA Board Member and President of the Center for Citizen Initiatives Sharon Tennison on the passing of Professor Stephen F. Cohen…

Dear Friends,

We are all reeling today from the shock that Steve Cohen is no longer with us.

What an incalculable loss to the U.S.-Russia field of expertise at a time when we most need Steve’s sane, seasoned voice coming to us from decades of his distilled wisdom.

Upon hearing of Steve’s passing, I instinctively went to my shelves and pulled down the book, “Stephen Cohen, the Soviet Union and Russia”, the front cover of which shows Steve and Katerina, decades younger, standing with the Kremlin wall in the background. This is a book of tributes and comments by Steve’s Russian colleagues. It is very telling that he was/is so honored by Russians and Americans alike.

No one can fill Steve’s shoes, but all of us can redouble our efforts to get back to Russia today, to do the type of sleuth work between cultures for which Steve was known. We can take up his mission to insist that Americans forego propaganda and become aware of the great need to be better informed on relations between our two countries before it is too late.

Nothing would be more fitting to Steve’s memory than if his passing could stimulate a new wave of Americans seriously exploring rapprochement between our two nations.

Let us ponder in this direction and plan accordingly.

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