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Nobel Foundation bars Russia, Belarus, Iran envoys from award ceremony in Sweden

by Alexander Khrebet September 2, 2023 3:23 PM 2 min read
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The Nobel Foundation announced on Sept. 2 that it would not invite Russian, Belarusian, or Iranian ambassadors to Sweden to the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm.

The foundation has not, however, barred the diplomats from attending another ceremony in Oslo.

"We recognize the strong reactions in Sweden, which completely overshadowed this message," the Nobel Foundation said in a statement, referring to the foundation's position of reaching a broad audience with "the values and messages that the Nobel Prize stands for."

An Aug. 31 statement inviting all the ambassadors represented in Sweden in Norway to the Nobel Prize award ceremonies provoked a wave of anger among Swedish lawmakers. The lawmakers said on Sept. 1 that they would boycott this year’s award ceremonies, calling the envoys' invitation “extremely injudicious.”

"The board of the Nobel Foundation, therefore, choose to repeat last year's exception to regular practice – that is, to not invite the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus, and Iran to the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm," the statement reads.

“It is clear that the world is increasingly divided into spheres, where dialogue between those with differing views is being reduced,” said Vidar Helgesen, executive director of the Nobel Foundation, on Aug. 31.

Oleh Nikolenko, Foreign Ministry spokesperson, praised the decision to bar three ambassadors from the award ceremony in Sweden, saying in a Facebook post on Sept. 2 that it was the "victory of humanism."

Nonetheless, Nikolenko said the Foreign Ministry is "convinced that a similar decision should be made regarding the Russian and Belarusian ambassadors in Oslo."

This 2023's award ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 10.

Last year, the Nobel Foundation barred Russian and Belarusian envoys from the Stockholm celebrations as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine.

In 2022, the Nobel Peace Prize was shared between Belarusian Ales Bialiatski, a pro-democracy activist sentenced to 10 years in prison, the Russian group Memorial, and the Ukrainian organization Center for Civil Liberties.

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