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Padraic Kenney
Russian and East European Institute

Jocelyn Bowie
IU College of Arts and Sciences

Last modified: Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Endowed fellowship honors former Russian and East European Institute professor and his student

Dec. 13, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Russian and East European Institute at Indiana University has established a new fellowship to support master's degree candidates, thanks to a $240,000 donation by Katrina vanden Heuvel along with her husband, Stephen F. Cohen, an IU alumnus and a pre-eminent scholar of the Soviet Union and Russia.

Cohen and vanden Heuvel

AIRO-XXI Publishers

Stephen F. Cohen and Katrina vanden Heuvel at a ceremony honoring him in Moscow in 2008.

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The fellowship will be called the Robert C. Tucker and Stephen F. Cohen Fellowship. Robert C. Tucker was a faculty member in the IU Department of Political Science from 1958 to 1961 who was instrumental in the institute's early years and was Cohen's mentor.

REEI is an interdisciplinary unit within the IU College of Arts and Sciences. The Tucker-Cohen Fellowship will be given to incoming Master of Arts students who demonstrate an interest in the history and politics of the Soviet Union or Russia and who plan to pursue careers in public service, such as journalism, secondary education, nonprofit work or the foreign service.

Cohen is a professor of Russian studies and history at New York University and professor of politics emeritus at Princeton University. He is considered one of the top U.S. experts on Russian history and policy. He earned his Bachelor of Science in economics and public policy in 1960, and his Master of Arts in government and Russian studies in 1962, both from IU.

Tucker joined the Princeton faculty in 1962. Cohen earned his Ph.D. in government and Russian studies from Columbia University in 1969 and eventually joined Tucker at Princeton and succeeded him as director of the Russian Studies Program there.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is the editor and publisher of The Nation. She is also co-editor with Cohen of "Voices of Glasnost: Interviews With Gorbachev's Reformers" (Norton, 1989); the author of "The Change I Believe In" (Nation Books, 2011); and co-editor of "The Nation: 1865-1990" and "A Just Response: The Nation on Terrorism, Democracy and September 11, 2001."

Cohen is the author of numerous books, including "Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography" (Knopf and Oxford University Press, 1973 and 1980); "Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History Since 1917" (Oxford University Press, 1985); "Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia" (Norton, 2000); "Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War" (Columbia University Press, 2009 and 2011); and "The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin" (PublishingWorks, 2010).

Both Cohen and vanden Heuvel have taken part in symposia on the IU Bloomington campus in recent years. In 2007, they both served on a panel discussion titled, "What's Right and Wrong With the Media," cosponsored by the IU School of Journalism and The Nation. In October, both presented at an on-campus symposium on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union.

Cohen received the 1998 Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. At that time, he explained that a chance tour of Russia during his junior year abroad in England changed the course of his life. Upon his return to IU, he took as many courses as he could from the campus's extraordinary cadre of Soviet experts, including Tucker.

"In the late 1950s and early 1960s, virtually the entire Russian studies faculty of Indiana University, in all the departments, thought and taught about Russia historically," Cohen said in accepting the Distinguished Alumni Award. "It was from them, right here in Bloomington, that I learned to 'think like a European' -- from inside Russia's history. I am more than an alumnus of Indiana University -- I am a personal and professional product of IU."

Tucker, who died in 2010, was a distinguished political scientist, diplomat, scholar, mentor and renowned Stalin biographer, who played a critical role in the earliest years of REEI, said its director and a professor of history, Padraic Kenney.

Cohen received REEI's Distinguished Alumni Award at a reception in Washington, D.C., in November. In 2008, Cohen received an honorary professorship at the Russian State University of Trade and Economics.

"Steve Cohen is one of the most respected authorities on the Soviet Union in this country. We at REEI are very proud to have such an illustrious alumnus," Kenney said. "Katrina and Steve's gift to REEI shows remarkable generosity to IU and uncommon understanding of the financial realities of graduate study. Not for the first time, they are making a great impact upon the field of Soviet and Russian studies."

Since 1999, vanden Heuvel and Cohen have provided an annual undergraduate scholarship to a student in the College of Arts and Sciences.