It’s upsetting to me that his audience takes his word as sacred. He’s at best parroting the information putin puts out through russia today. You can’t ask someone in moscow a question about maidan and expect a primary source perspective. Only the ukrainians know about the snipers that opened fire on the plaza. there’s no reason to think the russians know better than the people who were there.
Ukraine specialists are quite aware of what some have called the Ukrainophobic ranting of Stephen Cohen. However, this historian who before 2014 never wrote as much as one scholarly article about Ukraine, yet suddenly felt obliged to pontificate about the country, is not an isolated voice. He is but the tip of an iceberg of distinctly anti- Ukraine and pro-Kremlin liberal and leftist publicists, journalists, commentators, and academics who, although ignorant of Ukraine, its history, and its language, as of 2014 began defending the foreign policy interests of Russia’s ruling class in its former de facto colony. While their writings are little if at all known by Anglo-American academic specialists on Eastern Europe and Russia, they do figure in the mass media and influence ill-informed popular opinion and policy. They undoubtedly played a role in ensuring there were no mass non-Ukrainian organized demonstrations in any European or North or South American city supporting Maidan even though it was a definite “people power” movement directed against a corrupt puppet regime of a capitalist and imperialist power.1
Pro-Kremlin leftists and liberals seem to think Putin’s Russian neoliberal capitalism preferable to Anglo-American and European neoliberal capitalism and tolerate his imperialist drive to maintain Russian hegemony if not full control over Ukraine. Such people seem to think that the rapacious and destructive greed of big bankers and corporate owners/managers in Russia is preferable to that of their European and American counterparts, even though the former enjoy a degree of independence from governmental regulation that some of the latter can only envy. They see no similarity between Putin and his Eurasianists and George W. Bush and his Neo-cons. The pro Kremlin leftists do not condemn Putin for turning Russia into a neo-Soviet kleptocratic autocracy or label as imperialist his expansionist wars west and south. Much concerned about the activities of the CIA and NSA, they show no similar concern for the activities of the GRU and FSB.
Since 1991, such leftists have either been silent on or supportive of regimes in China, North Africa, Syria, North Korea, Zimbabwe, the Congo, and, most recently, fundamentalist Islamists and fascist Arab Baathists. Such leftists ignored issues like the Chernobyl disaster, the North Korean government purchase of submarines from Russia for millions of dollars in 1994 during the height of the country’s famine, and the massacres in Rwanda. Today to this list one can add Putin’s Russia and neo-Nazi and fascist parties – both EU and Russian. Alongside issues such as Russophilism, material interest and simple ignorance, another explanation for this double standard is that such leftists analyze events in terms of anti-Americanism rather than anti-imperialism. This attitude results in condemning Anglo-American and European neoliberal capitalism but not Russian neoliberal capitalism.Anti-Americanism is a set of beliefs that classifies imperialism as a singular specific American rather than global phenomenon and discounts or ignores competition between imperialists and intra-capitalist rivalries.