The expert claims the real state of thins is that US has been unfriendly to Russia for the past 20 years, of which “NATO advancing toward Russia’s borders” and frequent interference “in Russia’s internal politics” speaks clearly, according to the scholar.
Cohen describes the Magnitsky Act as the inevitable stage of the plunging process and says the US has to admit that the act and the Russia’s reaction that followed - “when virtually every deputy [in the Russian Duma and in the Federal Assembly] voted in favor of the ban on American adoption, which was just signed by Putin” – was the result of “the policies it [Washington] pursued towards Moscow.”
“Anti-Putin feeling in America is irrational, completely irrational. There has been a kind of demonization of Putin in America,” Cohen continues and adds that any “rational discourse about Putin” is impossible. Certainly, all this does not add to cooperation enhancement between the countries, the scholar concludes.
Stephen Frand Cohen, professor of Russian Studies and History at New York University, has devoted years to studying Russia and its history. He wrote a number of books, including the fundamental work about Nikolai Bukharin. He is writing for major US newspapers and magazines and is a CBS News consultant. In a telephone interview with Voice of America he shared his opinion about the Magnitsky Act and what effect it would have on the US-Russia relationship.
Cohen said he strongly opposed the Magnitsky Act. He claimed a new ‘Cold War’ was just round the corner. The Magnitsky Act brings us closer to it, he said, what makes us even more closer to it is deployment of US antimissile units near the Russian borders.
According to the scholar, the United States feels it can teach Russia civil rights, and it acts accordingly. At the same time to obtain permission for a rally in the US is not that simple.
The scholar called the US Congress’ decision ‘a pure outrage’. He reminded that the Congress used to play a role in foreign policy, during the war in Vietnam, for instance, but nowadays, as Cohen put it, it is acting in accord with the White House. Since President Obama has taken it slowly with signing off the act, the scholar said, some congressmen decided to take the initiative, though most of them are not experts in the issue, he added.
Now when the act is effective, lobbyists and those who feel offended will make a good use of it. For example, those who support Mikhail Hodorkovsky, Cohen said.
The US Congress would not look forward to solid evidence to prove criminal, corruption or human rights abuse charges, Cohan noted. “It is a politically tinged document,” he exclaimed. “Once you drop the right word into the right ear, and your rival’s position will be shaking.”
It is next to impossible that the act will be withdrawn, Cohan said. Congressmen would never admit they made a mistake.
Unfortunately it would be a stumbling block to cooperating with Russia over important issues – anti terrorism, drugs and human trafficking, the scholar concludes.
Voice of Russia