The Nobel Foundation has reversed a controversial decision to invite the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus and Iran to attend the Nobel Prize award ceremony after it faced widespread criticism.
The foundation announced in a press release Saturday that ambassadors from the three countries would not be invited, after initially saying it wanted to include even those who do not share the values of the Nobel Prize.
Ukraine condemned the decision to invite the ambassadors of Russia and Belarus, who were excluded from the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm last year because of the war in Ukraine. A Swedish member of the European Parliament called the decision “totally inappropriate”.
“The Nobel Foundation’s decision to invite all ambassadors to attend the Nobel Prize award ceremony, in accordance with past practice, has provoked strong reactions,” the foundation said in its statement on Saturday, adding that the basis of the decision is the belief that “it is important and right to communicate as widely as possible the values and messages that It symbolizes the Nobel Prize.
She added, “For example, through last year’s clear political message with the Peace Prize awarded to human rights fighters from Russia and Belarus as well as to Ukrainians documenting Russian war crimes.”
“We are aware of the strong reactions in Sweden, which completely overshadowed this letter. “We therefore choose to repeat last year’s exception to the usual practice, that is, not to invite the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus and Iran to attend the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm,” the foundation said.
The Swedish prime minister and Ukrainian officials welcomed the move on Saturday.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, while Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said: “I welcome the new decision of the Nobel Foundation Board of Directors regarding the Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony in Stockholm.” Foreign Affairs called the retraction “the restoration of justice” in a Facebook post.
The Nobel Banquet is held annually in Stockholm on December 10, when five out of six Nobel Prizes are awarded. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway.
Russians and Belarusians have been left out of countless events since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which Minsk helped heavily, in February 2022.
Athletes from Russia and Belarus have also been banned from competing in many sporting events, and diplomats are regularly excluded from summit conferences.
In another development, the chair of the Nobel Prize committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, on Saturday accused Russia of “attempting to silence” Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist Dmitry Muratov, after Russia added Muratov to its list of “foreign agents” on Friday.
Under a law expanded in December 2022, Russia requires all individuals or organizations that receive funding or support from abroad to be designated as “foreign agents”.
“Mr. Dmitry Muratov has been awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to promote freedom of expression, freedom of information and an independent press. It is sad that the Russian authorities are now trying to silence him,” Ress-Andersen said, adding that “the accusations against him are politically motivated.”
“Unapologetic tv specialist. Hardcore zombie trailblazer. Infuriatingly humble problem solver.”