Stephen F. Cohen: Nuclear Explosion and Political Protest in Russia

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Stephen F. Cohen, a Nation contributing editor and professor emeritus of Russian studies at NYU and Princeton, discusses with the host of The John Batchelor Show the recent nuclear accident on a submarine in Northern Russia and the unrelated political protests in Moscow. Cohen puts both in the historical and political context usually missing from media accounts. The first should be understood in the context of the new US-Russian nuclear arms race triggered by Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 — and as further confirmation that the new Cold War is more dangerous than was its predecessor. On the other hand, provoked by the authorities’ refusal to register some opposition figures as candidates in upcoming Moscow city elections, the protests are best viewed in the context of the struggle for the democratization of Russia. This historic struggle began with the pro-democracy reforms of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, in the late 1980s, and has continued, not surprisingly, with “many zigs and zags,” as Gorbachev himself has often remarked.

(Cohen’s most recent book, War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate, is available in paperback and as an ebook. His weekly discussions with Batchelor, can be found  here:


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