Nobel Peace Prize winners strongly condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine


The winners of this yr’s Nobel Peace Prize from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine shared their visions of a fairer world and denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warfare in Ukraine throughout Saturday’s award ceremony within the Norwegian capital.

In October, Oleksandra Matviichuk of Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties was named a co-winner of the 2022 peace prize, together with Russian human rights group Memorial, and Ales Bialiatski, head of the Belarusian rights group Viasna.

Matviichuk Saturday dismissed requires a political compromise that will enable Russia to retain a number of the illegally annexed Ukrainian territories, saying that “fighting for peace does not mean yielding to pressure of the aggressor, it means protecting people from its cruelty.”

“Peace cannot be reached by a country under attack laying down its arms,” she mentioned, her voice trembling with emotion. “This would not be peace, but occupation.”

Norway Nobel Peace Prize winners ceremony
Members of Norway’s royal household and friends applaud the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize  winners in the course of the award ceremony on the City Hall in Oslo, Norway, on Dec. 10, 2022.

SERGEI GAPON/AFP through Getty Images

Matviichuk repeated her earlier name for Putin — and Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, who supplied his nation’s territory for Russian troops to invade Ukraine — to face a world tribunal.

“We have to prove that the rule of law does work, and justice does exist, even if they are delayed,” she mentioned.

Bialiatski, who’s jailed in Belarus pending his trial and faces a jail sentence of as much as 12 years, wasn’t allowed to ship his speech. He shared a couple of ideas when he met in jail along with his spouse, Natallia Pinchuk, who spoke on his behalf on the award ceremony.

“In my homeland, the entirety of Belarus is in a prison,” Bialiatski mentioned within the remarks delivered by Pinchuk — in reference to a sweeping crackdown on the opposition after large protests in opposition to an August 2020 fraud-tainted vote that Lukashenko used to increase his rule. “This award belongs to all my human rights defender friends, all civic activists, tens of thousands of Belarusians who have gone through beatings, torture, arrests, prison.”

Bialiatski is the fourth individual within the 121-year historical past of the Nobel Prizes to obtain the award whereas in jail or detention.

In the remarks delivered by his spouse, he solid Lukashenko as a software of Putin, saying the Russian chief is searching for to determine his domination throughout the ex-Soviet lands.

“I know exactly what kind of Ukraine would suit Russia and Putin — a dependent dictatorship,” he mentioned. “The same as today’s Belarus, where the voice of the oppressed people is ignored and disregarded.”

The triple peace prize award was seen as a powerful rebuke to Putin, not just for his motion in Ukraine however for the Kremlin’s crackdown on home opposition and its assist for Lukashenko’s brutal repression of dissenters.

Russia’s Supreme Court shut down Memorial, certainly one of Russia’s oldest and most outstanding human rights organizations that was broadly acclaimed for its research of political repression within the Soviet Union, in December 2021.

Prior to that, the Russian authorities had declared the group a “foreign agent” — a label that suggests extra authorities scrutiny and carries robust pejorative connotations that may discredit the focused group.

Jan Rachinsky of Memorial mentioned in his speech that “today’s sad state of civil society in Russia is a direct consequence of its unresolved past.”

He significantly denounced the Kremlin’s makes an attempt to denigrate the historical past, statehood and independence of Ukraine and different ex-Soviet nations, saying that it “became the ideological justification for the insane and criminal war of aggression against Ukraine.”

“One of the first victims of this madness was the historical memory of Russia itself,” Rachinsky mentioned. “Now, the Russian mass media refer to the unprovoked armed invasion of a neighboring country, the annexation of territories, terror against civilians in the occupied areas, and war crimes as justified by the need to fight fascism.”

While all of the winners spoke in unison to sentence the warfare in Ukraine, there additionally have been some marked variations.

Matviichuk particularly declared that “the Russian people will be responsible for this disgraceful page of their history and their desire to forcefully restore the former empire.”

Rachinsky described the Russian aggression in opposition to its neighbor as a “monstrous burden,” however strongly rejected the notion of “national guilt.”

“It is not worth talking about ‘national’ or any other collective guilt at all — the notion of collective guilt is abhorrent to fundamental human rights principles,” he mentioned. “The joint work of the participants of our movement is based on a completely different ideological basis — on the understanding of civic responsibility for the past and for the present.”

Under the phrases of Alfred Nobel’s will, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee since 1901. Saturday’s award ceremonies befell on the Oslo City Hall within the presence of King Olav V and Queen Sonja, whereas the opposite Nobel prizes – for chemistry, physics, drugs, literature and economics – have been formally offered throughout ceremonies within the Swedish capital, Stockholm, later Saturday.

After a two-year COVID-19 pandemic break, award ceremonies befell at Stockholm’s Concert Hall with almost 1,500 invited friends.


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