A controversy among scholars of Russian studies has resulted in the death of a proposed gift to a major association that would have provided much-needed financial support for the discipline, The New York Times reports.
The dispute concerns the Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen, who is an emeritus professor at New York and Princeton Universities. Mr. Cohen’s views about American foreign policy in Ukraine are controversial, and he has been described as an apologist for Vladimir V. Putin, Russia’s president.
Mr. Cohen and his wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, proposed creating a fellowship program at the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies that would have filled gaps left by the ending of key federal grants to support Russian studies, in 2013.
However, some association members objected to having Mr. Cohen’s name associated with the fellowships. Other scholars came to Mr. Cohen’s defense and objected to what they viewed as the improper politicization of the group.
Mr. Cohen and his wife eventually withdrew the gift offer. He called the dispute an “obscenity” that would have worsened if the gift had not been withdrawn.