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US expert on Russia receives prize for improving Russian-US ties

October 22, 2011, 10:34 UTC+3

The Prize was awarded to Cohen for an outstanding contribution to the development of cultural relations between Russia and the US

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NEW YORK, October 22 (Itar-Tass) — The Liberty Prize was awarded to American historian and expert on Russia, Prof. Steven Cohen of New York University for an outstanding contribution to the development of cultural relations between Russia and the US.

The awarding ceremony was held at the Russian Consulate-General in New York on Friday.

According to Russian Consul-General to the US Andrei Yushmanov, the Liberty Prize “is not a state and not a political prize”; it has become “a good tradition in Russian-American relations, and I’m sure that this cultural project can consolidate relations between our countries”.

Speaking in an interview with Itar-Tass, Yushmanov said that such people as Cohen “make a real contribution to the development of friendship and mutual understanding between the two nations”. “The better we understand each other, the simpler it will be for us to resolve question at the political level,” he said.

In the opinion of the consul-general, “our compatriots and those Russian emigrants who left Russia 20 and more years ago started understanding better the present mutual relations thanks to the work of such people”. “Now they are looking for a chance to strengthen relations with their Homeland,” Yushmanov said.

Besides, he added, “their children who have never visited Russia, also display great interest in it, which is a positive element”.

The jury of the prize which was instituted in 1999 and has been awarded already for the 13th time, described Cohen as “a man who sympathises with and takes to heart Russia’s destiny”. For his part, Prof. Cohen noted that relations between our two countries should be based on principles of friendship and not only partnership.

The decision by the jury, consisting of prominent historians, authors and art critics, claims that Cohen won great recognition thanks to several books and numerous articles, dealing with Russian topics, including his interesting work – the book “Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History since 1917” and “Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia”.

Cohen, 73, now reads a course of lectures “Russia after 1917” at New York University. Besides, he is an honorary professor of politology at Princeton University. President of the American University in Moscow Edward Lozansky claims that Cohen is one of the most outstanding American scholars and experts on Russia. The American University along with the Kontinent Media Group is a co-sponsor of the prize.

The Liberty Prize was awarded in various years to director of the Guggenheim Museum Thomas Krens, director of the US Congress Library James Billington, author Vasily Aksenov, film director Alexei German, sr., musicians Vladimir Spivakov, Gidon Kremer and Vladimir Ashkenazi, etc.

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