News Release

Ukraine Crisis Leading to a New Cold War? Or Worse?


The Wall Street Journal reports: “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a test of combat readiness for troops stationed in a region that touches Ukraine’s northern border.”

Available for a very limited number of interviews, Cohen is professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University. His books include Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War. He recently wrote the piece “Distorting Russia: How the American Media Misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine” for The Nation, in which he warned: “A new Cold War divide between West and East may now be unfolding, not in Berlin but in the heart of Russia’s historical civilization. The result could be a permanent confrontation fraught with instability and the threat of a hot war far worse than the one in Georgia in 2008. These dangers have been all but ignored in highly selective, partisan and inflammatory U.S. media accounts, which portray the European Union’s ‘Partnership’ proposal benignly as Ukraine’s chance for democracy, prosperity and escape from Russia, thwarted only by a ‘bullying’ Putin and his ‘cronies’ in Kiev.”

DAVID KOTZ, dmkotz at
Kotz is professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and coauthor of Russia’s Path from Gorbachev to Putin: The Demise of the Soviet System and the New Russia. He said today: “The events in Ukraine pose the danger of serious conflict ahead between Russia and the Western powers. However, it is not the same as the Cold War, when two different socioeconomic systems were in conflict. While history never exactly repeats itself, the situation has the feel of the pre-World War I period in Europe.”

MIKHAIL BEZNOSOV, [in Kharkiv, Ukraine] mobile: mikhailb at
Beznosov received his PhD in political science from the University of Arizona, where he is an adjunct professor. Head of the governing board of the East-Ukrainian Society for International Studies, Beznosov is now an associate professor in sociology at Kharkiv National University.

He said today: “It’s clearly an unstable situation. There’s widespread opposition to what has happened in Kiev in much of the country, mostly in the east and south. It seems the ultra-nationalists are still not satisfied even in what they’ve done recently, including revoking a recently passed law banning neo-Nazi propaganda and revoking the law regulating the use of minority languages that had given more rights … to the regions where there is a substantial share of minority population, thus granting greater language freedom to Russian-speaking parts of the country. We’re seeing threats to political opponents of the ultra-nationalists and a silencing of journalists. Many police have resigned, making the unstable situation more dangerous — and the ultra-nationalists seem set on trying to control the civil service. Many in the Russian speaking parts of the country are looking to Russia to protect them — though at this point I think it would be a mistake for Russia to directly intervene.”

The Financial Times reports in “Sevastopol yearns for mother Russia:” “Long anxious for this former Russian city to be returned from Ukraine to its motherland, they seized their chance over the weekend, kicking out the Kiev-appointed city administrator in a coup to rival the one they perceived taking place in the capital.”