The Nobel Foundation has reversed its controversial decision to invite the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus and Iran to the Nobel Prize ceremony after it was met with widespread criticism.
The foundation announced in a press release on Saturday that ambassadors from the three countries would not be invited, after initially saying it wanted to include those who did not share the values of the Nobel Prize.
Ukraine condemned the decision to invite the Russian and Belarusian ambassadors, who were excluded from last year’s Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm because of the war in Ukraine. A Swedish MEP called the decision “extremely inappropriate”.
“The Nobel Foundation’s decision to invite all ambassadors to the Nobel Prize ceremony, in accordance with previous practice, provoked strong reactions,” the foundation said in its statement on Saturday, adding that the basis for the decision was the belief that “It is important and “It is right to spread the values and messages for which the Nobel Prize stands as widely as possible.”
“For example, through last year’s clear political message with the awarding of the Peace Prize to human rights fighters from Russia and Belarus as well as to Ukrainians who are involved in documenting Russian war crimes,” it said.
“We recognize the strong reaction in Sweden that completely overshadowed this message. “We therefore decide to repeat last year’s exception to regular practice – that is, not inviting the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus and Iran to the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm,” the foundation said.
Saturday’s move was welcomed by the Swedish prime minister and Ukrainian officials.
“I welcome the new decision of the Board of the Nobel Foundation regarding the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm,” Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in a post on Post on Facebook as “Restoring Justice.”
The Nobel Banquet takes place annually on December 10th in Stockholm, where five out of six Nobel Prizes are awarded. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway.
Russians and Belarusians have been barred from countless events since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, heavily backed by Minsk.
Athletes from Russia and Belarus have also been banned from taking part in numerous sporting events, and diplomats are regularly excluded from summit meetings.
In another development, Nobel Committee Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen on Saturday accused Russia of “attempting to silence Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist Dmitry Muratov” after Russia added Muratov to its register of “foreign agents” on Friday had.
Under a law expanded in December 2022, Russia requires that any person or organization receiving funds or support from abroad be classified as “foreign agents.”
“Mr. Dmitry Muratov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for his efforts to promote freedom of expression and information as well as independent journalism. “It is sad that the Russian authorities are now trying to silence him,” said Reiss-Andersen and added that “the allegations against him are politically motivated.”