The Nobel Foundation has decided to reverse its decision to invite ambassadors from Russia, Belarus, and Iran to its annual awards ceremony in Sweden. This reversal comes after the previous invitation caused outrage among Ukrainian and Swedish politicians. Last year, Russia and Belarus were barred from the awards ceremony due to the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, while Iran was excluded because of anti-government protests in Tehran. However, in an effort to promote dialogue between different viewpoints, the foundation initially announced that ambassadors from all three countries would be invited to this year’s ceremony.
Just two days after the invitations were announced, they have now been revoked. In a statement on Saturday, the foundation acknowledged the strong reactions in Sweden that overshadowed the initial message of facilitating dialogue. Consequently, the board of the Nobel Foundation has chosen to repeat last year’s exception and not invite the ambassadors from Russia, Belarus, and Iran to the award ceremony in Stockholm.
Despite this decision, ambassadors from these three countries will still be invited to a separate ceremony in Oslo, where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded. It is important to note that last year’s peace prize was awarded to anti-government activists in Russia and Belarus, as well as a Ukrainian NGO that accused Russian forces of war crimes. The foundation described this as a clear political message in their statement.
The decision to invite the ambassadors sparked uproar in Kiev. A spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stated that by inviting Russian officials to the ceremony, the Nobel Foundation would encourage Moscow’s feeling of impunity. The spokesman called on the foundation to support international efforts to isolate Russia and Belarus. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson also expressed the need to isolate Russia in every possible way, while representatives of Sweden’s Center Party, Left Party, and Green Party threatened to boycott the event if the invitations were not withdrawn.
In addition, it is worth mentioning that Jimmie Akesson of the right-wing Sweden Democrats, despite leading Sweden’s second-most popular party, was not invited to last year’s ceremony. Although he received an invitation this year, he declined, citing other commitments on that day.
In conclusion, the Nobel Foundation has reversed its decision to invite ambassadors from Russia, Belarus, and Iran to its annual awards ceremony in Sweden. This reversal comes in response to political pressure and the strong reactions it received from Ukrainian and Swedish politicians. The foundation will, however, invite the ambassadors to a separate ceremony in Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize. The decision has sparked discussions about isolating Russia and Belarus internationally, as well as controversies surrounding the inclusion or exclusion of certain political figures from the event.