Activists From Belarus, Ukraine, Russia Win Nobel Peace Prize
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three recipients: Ales Bialiatski, one of the initiators of the democracy movement that emerged in Belarus in the mid-1980s – and two human rights groups – the Center for Civil Liberties, a Ukrainian group, and Memorial, a Russian organization.
All three recipients represent countries once part of the former Soviet Union, with two of the three run by autocrats – Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus and Vladimir Putin in Russia.
“The Peace Prize laureates represent civil society in their home countries,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, in her remarks before announcing this year’s winners. “They have, for many years, promoted the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens. They have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy.”
“This prize is the prize of resistance,” said Alice Mogwe, president of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), in a statement after the prize was announced. “Resistance against totalitarianism, against all attempts to silence the voices of those who dare to stand up and denounce human rights violations.”
“FIDH recalls that Ales Bialiatski is currently being arbitrarily detained in the jails of the Lukashenko regime, Memorial was dissolved in December 2021 under false pretenses by the Russian authorities, while CCL members are currently living in a country at war, under aggression by a foreign power,” Mogwe said. “Despite this, their work continues. It is more crucial than ever.”
Last year’s Peace Prize was awarded to Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov, a Russian. The Nobel Committee said the two received the award “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
The award is accompanied by a nearly $1 million dollar prize and an 18-carat gold medal.
Muratov sold his Noble medal to benefit Ukrainian children displaced by the war. An anonymous philanthropist bought the gold disc for $103.5 million.
Other winners of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize have included: Martin Luther King, Jr., The Red Cross, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Dag Hammarskjold, and Barack Obama.
No prize was awarded during World War II, from 1940 to 1945.