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Stephen Cohen on the Survivors of the Gulag


Saturday, December 11th, 4:00 – 6:30 p.m.

To pay tribute to a great Russian writer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn

(11 December 1918 – 3 August 2008) Stephen F. Cohen, author of the recently published The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag after Stalin, and Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Editor and Publisher of The Nation will conduct a talk at the Museum of Russian Art (MoRA).

During their thirty years of visiting Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, Stephen Cohen and Katrina Vanden Heuvel came to know many victims of Stalin’s terror who survived his Gulag of prisons and forced-labor camps. Those survivors told Cohen and Vanden Heuvel about their experiences in and after the Gulag. Their stories form the basis of Cohen’s new book, The Victims Return. Millions died in Stalin’s terror, but millions of other victims survived to be released after Stalin’s death in 1953. Cohen’s book tells the story of what happened to those survivors after the Gulag. Compared to the story of survivors of the Holocaust, the return of these survivors – their attempts to salvage what remained of their shattered lives, their personal and political struggles against the people who had victimized and feared their return – is little known. It is one of the great human tragedies and sagas of the 20th century.

For many years, Stephen Cohen has visited and lived in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia. He and Katrina Vanden Heuvel are friends of former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, and Cohen was an adviser to President George H.W. Bush. Cohen taught politics and Russian Studies at Princeton University for 30 years and is now a professor of Russian Studies and history at NYU. He is the author of many books, including: Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938; Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History Since 1917; Sovieticus: American Perceptions and Soviet Realities; Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia; and Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives.

The writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn helped to make the world aware of the Gulag, the Soviet Union’s forced labor camp system – particularly in his books The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970.

THE BOOK: The Victims Return by Stephen Cohen, will be available for sale and signing by the author.

THE TALK will be conducted in English.

Boris Belenky 917 921-1003
Margo Grant 917-449-2842
Mikhail Shustarovich 718 288-0010