Nobel Prize foundation bars Russia from awards ceremony after 'strong reactions'

red flowers on left and big gold coin to the right with man's profile on it
A plaque depicting Alfred Nobel at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway.Chris Jackson/Getty Images
  • The Nobel Foundation on Saturday retracted its invitation to Russia, citing "strong reactions."

  • Russia's ambassador to Sweden will no longer attend the Nobel Prize awards ceremony in Stockholm.

  • Russian diplomats will still be invited to the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

The Nobel Foundation, which will hand out the Nobel Prize today, announced it was no longer inviting Russia to its awards ceremony in Stockholm, citing "strong reactions" to the gesture that "completely overshadowed" the group's efforts to promote peace and understanding.

But it said Russian diplomats are still welcome to attend a separate event for the Nobel Peace Prize, despite the country's leadership facing allegations of war crimes in Ukraine.

The Nobel Foundation had announced on Friday that it was extending an invitation to Russia, as well as Belarus and Iran, to attend this December's awards ceremony in Sweden, where award-winners will be recognized for their contributions to science and literature. All three countries were barred from last year's event due to their record on human rights.

The invitations prompted some Swedish politicians to announce they would boycott this year's awards ceremony. "There is nothing to celebrate together with Russia's ambassador," the Green Party's Märta Stenevi said, according to the Associated Press.

The Nobel Foundation intended to promote dialogue, according to Vidar Helgesen, the group's executive director. But on Saturday, the foundation said that intention had been "completely overshadowed" by the backlash, prompting it to rescind the invites — or, as the statement phrased it, "to repeat last year's exception to regular practice."

However, "As before," diplomats from Russia, Iran, and Belarus will still be invited to attend a separate, parallel ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. Last year, the Peace Prize was jointly awarded to Ales Bialiatski, a human rights activist from Belarus, and two groups that monitor human rights violations in Russia and Ukraine.

Russia has been accused of targeting at least one Nobel laureate. According to The Washington Post, US intelligence officials believe the Kremlin authorized an attack last year against Dmitry Muratov, former chief editor of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021. On Friday, Moscow formally declared Muratov a "foreign agent."

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