Nobel Foundation Withdraws Invitation to Russia and Belarus

The Nobel Foundation reversed course on Saturday and said it would not invite the ambassadors of Russia and Belarus to the Nobel Prize award ceremony, acknowledging that an earlier decision to do so had prompted backlash.

Both Russia and Belarus were disinvited from the ceremony last year after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022; the organization also retracted Iran’s invitation after a harsh government crackdown on anti-government protests. But this past week, the foundation said it would invite representatives of the three countries to the December ceremony in Stockholm — a move that drew angry responses from several Swedish lawmakers, who said they would boycott the ceremony.

The Nobel Foundation said in a statement on Saturday that the decision to reinvite the three countries’ envoys this year had been based on longstanding policy “to reach out as widely as possible with the values and messages that the Nobel Prize stands for” — but acknowledged that it had “provoked strong reactions” that had “completely overshadowed this message.”

As a result, the foundation said, it would “repeat last year’s exception to regular practice — that is, to not invite the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus and Iran” to the award ceremony in Stockholm. Representatives from Russia, Belarus and Iran will be invited to a separate ceremony in Oslo as they were before, the statement added.

The Nobel Foundation gives prizes each year in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, economics, literature and peace. Last year, the Peace Prize was awarded to Memorial, a Russian human rights organization, and Ales Bialiatski, a Belarusian activist, along with the Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine.

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