NewsNobel Peace Prize to representatives of Ukraine, Russia and...

Nobel Peace Prize to representatives of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus

With a highly symbolic election in favor of “peaceful coexistence”, the Nobel Peace Prize awarded this Friday to a trio of representatives of civil society from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, three of the main actors in the Ukrainian conflict.

The award was given to imprisoned Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatski, the Russian NGO Memorial – whose dissolution was ordered by the Russian authorities – and the Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine.

“The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honor three outstanding banners of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence in the three neighboring countries of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine,” said its chair, Berit Reiss-Andersen.

As experts expected, the Nobel committee wanted to send a message against the war in Ukraine, which has plunged Europe into the most serious security crisis since World War II.

However, the five members of the Nobel committee avoided directly criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin, who began the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and celebrates his 70th birthday this Friday.

“Like the government of Belarus, it represents an authoritarian government that represses human rights activists,” Reiss-Andersen stressed when comparing it to the Russian Executive.

In addition, he urged Belarus to release Ales Bialiatski, founding president of the Human Rights Defense Center Viasna (“Spring”), imprisoned after the 2020 mass demonstrations against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, considered fraudulent by Western countries.

Ales Bialiatski’s wife, Natalia Pinchuk, told AFP she was “overwhelmed with emotion”.

The Belarusian opposition leader, Svetlana Tijanóvskaya, considered on Twitter that “the award is an important recognition for all Belarusians who fight for freedom and democracy.”

Instead, Belarus criticized the committee’s decision .

“In recent years, decisions – and we are talking about the Peace Prize – are so politicized that Alfred Nobel is turning in his grave,” the spokesman for Belarusian diplomacy, Anatoli Glaz, reacted on Twitter.

For its part, Memorial is the largest human rights organization in Russia. The Russian Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of the group’s central structure, called Memorial International, in December 2021.

In addition to setting up a documentation center on the victims of Stalinism, Memorial has collected and archived information on repression and human rights violations in Russia.

But shortly after the award was announced, the NGO denounced the open process against her in Russia.

“At the same time that the whole world congratulates us on the Nobel Prize, a process is taking place in the Tverskoi court (in Moscow) to requisition the premises of Memorial,” the Memorial Human Rights Center denounced.

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