The Nobel Foundation has done a 180-degree turn controversial decision invite the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus and Iran to the Nobel Prize ceremony after facing widespread criticism.
The foundation announced in a press release on Saturday that it would not invite ambassadors from the three countries, after initially saying it wanted to involve even those who did not share the values of the Nobel Prize.
Ukraine condemned the decision to invite the ambassadors of Russia and Belarus, who were left out of the Nobel Prize-giving ceremony in Stockholm last year because of the war in Ukraine. A Swedish member of the European Parliament called the decision “extremely inappropriate.”
“The Nobel Foundation’s decision to invite all ambassadors to the Nobel Prize award ceremony, in line with past practice, has provoked strong reactions,” the foundation said in its statement on Saturday, adding that the foundation’s decision is the belief that “It is important and right to disseminate as widely as possible the values and messages that the Nobel Prize represents.”
“For example, through last year’s clear political message with the peace prize awarded to Russian and Belarusian human rights fighters, as well as Ukrainians working to document Russian war crimes,” he said.
“We acknowledge the strong reactions in Sweden, which completely overshadowed this message. That is why we decided to repeat last year’s exception to the usual practice, that is, not to invite the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus and Iran to the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm,” the foundation said.
Saturday’s move was welcomed by the Swedish prime minister and Ukrainian officials.
“I welcome the new decision of the board of directors of the Nobel Foundation regarding the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, while Oleg Nikolenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, called the revocation a “restoration of justice” in a Facebook post.
The Nobel Banquet is held annually in Stockholm on December 10 and five of the six Nobel Prizes are awarded there. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway.
Russians and Belarusians have been excluded from countless events ever since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with much help from Minsk, in February 2022.
Athletes from Russia and Belarus have also been barred from competing in numerous sporting events, and diplomats are regularly barred from summits.
In a separate development, Nobel Committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen accused Russia on Saturday of “trying to silence” Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist Dmitry Muratov, after Russia added Muratov to its registry of “ foreign agents” on Friday.
Under an expanded law in December 2022, Russia requires that all individuals or organizations receiving funding or support from abroad be classified as “foreign agents.”
“Mr. Dmitry Muratov received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for his efforts to promote freedom of expression, freedom of information and independent journalism. It is sad that the Russian authorities are now trying to silence him,” Reiss-Andersen said. , adding that the “accusations against him are politically motivated.”