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Russian lawmakers and public figures have nominated President Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize, stressing his efforts to resolve the ongoing conflict in Syria through diplomatic means and the governance of international law.
The International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation of Peoples of the World, a group approved by the Nobel Committee to make such nominations, said in a letter quoted by The New York Times:
“Being the leader of one of the leading nations of the world, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin makes efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity not only on the territory of his own country but also actively promotes settlement of all conflicts arising on the planet.”
The idea of introducing Putin for the peace prize has made the rounds on social media networks often comparing the Russian leader to US President Barack Obama who was awarded the prize in 2009, shortly after stepping into the White House.
Russian Member of Parliament Iosif Kobzon told local media that he believes Obama is responsible for aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was preparing to invade Syria before Putin stepped in with a diplomatic initiative.
“Our president, who tries to stop the bloodshed and who tries to help [resolve] the conflict situation with political dialogue, is, in my view, more worthy of this high title,” Kobzon said.
Taras Shamba, President of the International Association of the Abkhaz-Abazin People, told The BRICS Post that at the moment Putin is the only person deserving the prize.
“Everything is clear. Nominating the Russian President, we stemmed from the monumental efforts applied to the peace process in Syria. Italy, France, and even the US lawmakers praise Putin’s work,” Shamba said.
The nomination letter to the Nobel Prize Committee was sent on September 16.
“The Committee has received our letter and will consider Putin’s nomination along with other nominees. Though we understand that the Committee is somehow engaged, and often guided by political motives. But if they want to improve their image, as often they award those who deserve and those who do not deserve the prize, they should honour Putin,” Shamba told The BRICS Post.
If Putin wins the nomination, he would become the third Russian awarded the honour.
Since 1901 when the Prize was introduced, the prize was awarded in 1975 to Andrei Sakharov, a Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident, and human rights activist; and in 1990 to Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR (1985-1991).
But Mark Sleboda, a senior lecturer and researcher of international relations and security at Moscow State University, believes it is unlikely, “given the unpeaceful qualities of so many of its prior recipients”, that Putin would ever be seriously considered for the award.
“We should remember that previous Nobel Peace Prize nominees have included Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and George W. Bush,” Sleboda said.
He went on to list previous Nobel peace prize winners such as Henry Kissinger, who Sleboda says can best be remembered for Vietnam, Operation Condor, and support of Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet).
Sleboda also referred to Cordell Hull, former US Presiden Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of State who rejected reports of the Holocaust and sent Jewish refugees back to Germany, as a former recipient of the prize.
“Although nominated five times, Gandhi was never given the Nobel Peace Prize,” Sleboda says, “but Shimon Perez (responsible for the Qana Massacre in Lebanon in 1986) and Yitzhak Rabin (who ordered the expulsion of Arabs from areas captured by Israel during the 1948 War and continued the Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestine through ‘settlement’) both did.”
Sleboda says that the Nobel Peace Prize would only tarnish Putin’s reputation as an international statesman, and that he should turn it down.
The Nobel Committee will announce the recipient on October 11.
By Daria Chernyshova in Moscow, Russia for The BRICS Post