The Nobel Peace Prize will again be given this Friday in Norway. The prize is awarded in the face of the heated tension between Ukraine and Russia, marking it as the biggest war in Europe in over seven decades.
The continued pressure exerted by both countries against each other makes this year’s Nobel Peace Prize among the most important and complicated.
As a result, the Norwegian committee had difficulty selecting the individual who would receive one of the most coveted awards in the world.
To receive a Nobel Prize, especially during tumultuous times, is a big responsibility as it signifies hope and strength amid uncertainty.
Experts added that the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize would be unclear due to several factors.
Dan Smith, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), said, “Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out who might get the prize because there are so many possible candidates.”
“This year, it’s hard to figure out who might get the prize because there’s so little good that is happening in the world of peace and security.”
Naturally, the Nobel Prize is very unpredictable, and anybody could be awarded the honors. Therefore, the selection board that screens the candidates for the accolade is kept secret.
Of course, experts in peace and security have people in their minds who might snatch the award, but even they are uncertain as the thought process of the selection committee is kept under wraps.
The war in Ukraine and its impact
During the First and the Second World Wars, any candidate had not received the Nobel Peace Prize.
There are also certain instances that the prize was not given at all. However, historically, the Nobel prize was given in times when there was little hope or many countries were suffering due to conflict.
And with the current geopolitical conditions in Europe, the people who will select the recipient of the award would make a crucial decision.
The prize will symbolize peacemaking, and as such, it will weigh heavily inside their minds.
Among other individuals eyed by several experts are Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR). Both have considerably come in aid of people who needed help in times of need.
Volodymyr is a figurehead who defends his people amid assaults from Russia, while the commissioner is someone who has helped displaced people due to war.
“Zelensky is a war leader, and what is happening at the moment is war. You can admire or not admire the action he’s undertaking, but it’s about war and the armed defense of his country. That’s a fact that should be respected in and of itself,” added Smith.
“Hopefully, the war will come to an end, and they will make peace. If Zelensky or somebody else can contribute to making that peace, then there will be time to acknowledge that enormous achievement.”
Kremlin critics might also be included
With Russia getting more criticisms for its brutal treatment of its smaller neighbor, experts predict that critics of Putin’s regime might be in line to get the Nobel Peace Prize. An example is Alexey Navalny, who has since vocally opposed Russia for its policies and war against Ukraine.
Navalny was imprisoned because of it. In 2020, he was poisoned and Navalny blatantly put the blame on the Russian government.
“Navalny, I think, is heroic, (but) he’s a political leader. It’s a prize that is to be awarded not for how great you are but for how great the things you’ve done are,” said Smith.
Another figure who might be in line to receive the Nobel prize is Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, an opposition leader in Belarus, who ran against a strong ally of Putin.
“Both Tsikhanouskaya and Navalny are vocal critics of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A shared Nobel Peace Prize between them would be seen as a clear protest of the Russian aggression and the assistance by Belarus, and as support of democratic and non-violent alternatives to Lukashenko and Putin.”