Newswise — Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian Studies at NYU and Princeton University, and Stanford Professor Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation, will debate “who is to blame” for the state of U.S.-Russia relations today on Wed., May 9, 5-7 p.m. at Columbia University’s Teatro in its Italian Academy (1161 Amsterdam Ave. [below 118th St.]).

“The New U.S.-Russian Cold War: Who is to Blame,” co-sponsored by NYU’s Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia and Columbia’s Harriman Institute, is free and open to the public.

Many see U.S.-Russia relations as at their worst since the Soviet era. The two countries remain at odds over policy towards Syria and Ukraine and questions of global leadership. Some have begun to ask how relations between the two countries deteriorated to this point and who is to blame? 

McFaul is professor of political science, director and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He served for five years in the Obama administration, first as special assistant to the president and senior director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House (2009-2012), and then as U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation (2012-2014). He has authored several books, including the forthcoming From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia; Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should, How We Can; with Kathryn Stoner, Transitions to Democracy: A Comparative Perspective; with American University’s James Goldgeier, Power and Purpose: American Policy toward Russia after the Cold War; and Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin.

Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian Studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. He is author of several books, including Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography; Rethinking the Soviet ExperienceFailed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist RussiaThe Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin; and Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War. His forthcoming Why Cold War Again? will be published in 2019. 

Registration is required here: Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-seated basis. Registration does not guarantee admission to the event. Questions about the event should be directed to Carly Jackson, program coordinator, Harriman Institute, at [email protected].

The event, part of the Columbia-NYU New York Russia Public Policy Series and co-chaired by Alexander Cooley of the Harriman Institute and Joshua Tucker, director of the Jordan Center, is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Subway: 1 (116th St./Columbia University)


The NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia undertakes to make Russia intrinsic to all aspects of scholarly investigation: from politics to literature, economics to anthropology, history to visual culture. Joining the ranks of US and western universities with traditions of inquiry and expertise on matters Russian and Soviet, the Center is distinguished by its particular mission of situating Russia in a global context. We aim both to help educate Russia specialists on the interconnectedness of Russia with the world and to remind other fields of Russia’s ubiquity. While recognizing that any country is best understood as part of a global economy, culture, and politics, the Center works to ensure that Russia’s dramatic and enduring influence is an integral part of every conversation. For more, please visit

The Harriman Institute at Columbia University is one of the world’s leading academic institutions devoted to Russian, Eurasian and East European studies. Our mission is to serve our community at the university and beyond by supporting research, instruction, and dialogue, sponsoring vibrant and multidisciplinary events that bring together our extraordinary resources of faculty, students, and alumni. We are committed to training the next generation of regional specialists to play leadership roles in setting the academic and scholarly agenda, making policy and challenging accepted truths about how we study our rapidly changing world. For more, please visit

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Journal Link: NYU