Ukraine Leads 2023 Nobel Peace Prize Nominations

Despite being secret, the proposals that came out refer to the war with Russia. Zelensky and the NATO chief are among the candidates.

This Tuesday the nominations for the next Nobel Peace Prize in 2023 were announced and it did not go unnoticed that many are related to the war in Ukraine. Of these proposals, the head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, and the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski, stand out.

Among the people and organizations suggested to the Norwegian Nobel committee, the few names that were made public generally refer to actors linked to the conflict in Ukraine or to opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Hundreds of names are proposed each year for the award that will be announced in October; for example, in 2022 343 were proposed.

List of Candidates

Although by statute the list of candidates is kept secret for at least 50 years, the thousands of sponsors – including legislators and ministers from all countries, former laureates, academics – are free to reveal the identity of their candidate. A Norwegian populist right-wing deputy hinted that he will propose Zelensky, who has become a symbol of resistance to the Russian invasion that began on February 24, 2022.

The same parliamentarian also submitted the name of his compatriot Stoltenberg, who, according to him, “deserves the award for his exemplary work as NATO Secretary General in a difficult period for the alliance: the brutal and unprovoked offensive against a peaceful neighboring country “.

Also on the list is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, nominated by the Pakistani Senate president for his peace efforts “before and during the Russo-Ukrainian war,” according to the AFP news agency. They also include opponents of the Putin regime, such as Alexey Navalny, and the journalist Vladimir Kara-Mourza.

“Today we know that the basis of this war is a Russian regime built on corruption and oppression,” said the Norwegian lawmaker who proposed Kara-Mourza’s candidacy. He “participates in the most important political fight to end the war in Ukraine and guarantee future peace in Europe,” she argued, quoted by the NTB agency.

Last year, the prize was awarded to the trio made up of the Russian NGO Memorial, whose dissolution was ordered by the Russian Justice, the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties and the Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatski, detained. In 2021, it was another Kremlin critic, journalist Dmitri Muratov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, who was awarded along with his Filipino colleague Maria Ressa, both recognized as heralds of threatened press freedom in both countries.

Henrik Urdal, director of the Oslo Peace Research Institute, considers it unlikely that the Nobel committee “will award a third consecutive Russia-related prize.” “Last year it was difficult for the committee to look beyond Ukraine because of how important and pervasive the conflict was, but it is also essential to highlight other international issues in other parts of the world,” he added.

In recent years there has been speculation about the possibility of a Nobel Peace Prize for defenders of the environment. Norwegian environmental MP Lan Marie Berg announced today that she nominated two young climate activists, 20-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden, whose name has been in the running for the award for several years, and 27-year-old Ugandan Vanessa Nakate.

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