Stephen F. Cohen


On his book The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin

Cover Interview of February 13, 2011


The Victims Return is about one of the great tragedies of the 20th century and one of its greatest human sagas.  But it is also a book about Russia today.

Readers may be surprised to discover that despite the monstrous crimes recounted in the book, some 50% of Russians surveyed today nonetheless consider Stalin to have been “a great leader.”

As a result, yet another debate is underway in Russia over Stalin’s long rule and its present-day relevance—the third controversy since the despot died in 1953 (the first was under Khrushchev, the second under Gorbachev).

In the Epilogue, I try to explain why this has happened—and what it may mean for Russia’s future.  And it is not due to Putin’s rule, as the US media regularly asserts.  The “significance” of that will be clear to American readers.

© 2011 Stephen F. Cohen