A prominent Soviet historian has publicly challenged the official Kremlin view that the West was responsible for starting the Cold War, arguing that former dictator Josef Stalin should bear a large portion of the blame. An article in the weekly Literary Gazette by Nikolai Popov, a U.S. specialist at the Moscow Institute for Sociological Research, breaks new ground in seeking to explain to Soviet readers why the United States and other Western countries have been preoccupied for decades by a "Soviet threat." "For prewar Europe and the United States, our country . . . was, above all, the country of bloody, enforced collectivizations, mass repressions and camps, of terror and dictatorship, the country of Stalin," Popov wrote.