In echo of Chilly Conflict, Nobel Peace Prize goes to human rights activists in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Belarusian human rights activist Ales Byalyatski meets journalists and his supporters after his launch from jail and his arrival on the prepare station in Minsk, Belarus June 21, 2014. REUTERS/Marina Serebryakova


By Nora Buli and Gwladys Fouché

OSLO (Reuters) – Imprisoned Belarusian activist Ales Byalyatski, Russian rights group Memorial and the Ukrainian Heart for Civil Liberties received the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, amid a battle of their area that’s the worst battle in Europe because the Second World Conflict.

The award, the primary peace prize since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, echoes the Chilly Conflict period, when distinguished Soviet dissidents comparable to Andrei Sakharov and Alexander Solzhenitsyn received Nobel Prizes for Peace or Literature.

The award shall be seen by many as a condemnation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who celebrated his seventieth birthday on Friday, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, making it one of the crucial politically controversial in a long time.

“We consider this can be a battle that’s the results of an authoritarian regime, which is aggressively committing an act of aggression,” Norwegian Nobel committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen instructed Reuters after the announcement.

She stated the committee wished to honor “three excellent defenders of human rights, democracy and peaceable coexistence.”

“It isn’t one particular person, one group, one fast repair,” she stated in an interview. “It’s the united efforts of what we name civil society that may rise up towards authoritarian states and/or human rights abuses.”

She known as on Belarus to launch Byalyatski from jail and stated the award was not for Putin.


In July final yr, Belarusian safety police arrested Byalyatsky, 60, and others in a brand new crackdown on opponents of Lukashenko.

Authorities had determined to close down non-state media and human rights teams after mass protests the earlier August towards a presidential election that the opposition stated was rigged.

“The (Nobel) Committee sends the message that political freedoms, human rights and an energetic civil society are a part of peace,” Dan Smith, director of the Worldwide Peace Analysis Institute, instructed Reuters. from Stockholm.

He stated the award would enhance Byalyatski’s morale and strengthen the hand of the Heart for Civil Liberties, an unbiased Ukrainian human rights group that additionally focuses on preventing corruption.

“Though Memorial has been closed in Russia, there stays the concept it’s proper to criticize energy and that details and historical past matter,” Smith added.

Byalyatski’s spouse instructed Reuters he could not even have identified concerning the information, which she tried to interrupt to him in a telegram to a Belarusian jail.


In Geneva, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations stated Moscow was not involved concerning the worth. “We do not care about that,” Gennady Gatilov instructed Reuters.

In Belarus, the award was not reported by state media.

Based in 1989 to assist victims of political repression in the course of the Soviet Union and their family members, Memorial campaigns for democracy and civil rights in Russia and the previous Soviet republics. Its co-founder and first chief was Sakharov, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975.

Memorial, Russia’s best-known human rights group, was disbanded final December for violating a regulation requiring sure civil society teams to register as international brokers, capping a yr of repression towards critics of the Kremlin, the likes of which had not been seen because the USSR. days.

Oleg Orlov, a member of the memorial committee, known as the award “ethical help”, however when requested by reporters if it might assist defend his group or his work, he replied “I am not afraid”.

Talking after a listening to in a Moscow court docket to resolve whether or not the Memorial archives needs to be handed over to the state, Orlov stated: “When a rustic crushes human rights, that nation turns into a menace to the world.

“We’re persevering with our work in protection of human rights,” he added. “It would not cease, it continues.”

The award given to Memorial is the second in a row given to a Russian particular person or group, following final yr’s award given to journalist Dmitry Muratov and Maria Ressa of the Philippines.

The chief director of the Ukrainian Heart for Civil Liberties, Oleksandra Romantsova, stated successful the prize was wonderful.

“It is nice, thanks,” she instructed prize committee secretary Olav Njoelstad in a cellphone name that was filmed and broadcast on Norwegian tv.

The band additionally tweeted how proud they have been.


Byalyatski’s prize might assist draw consideration to some 1,350 political prisoners in Belarus, exiled opposition politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya instructed Reuters.

“I am actually proud to see Ales Byalyatski because the winner,” she stated. “(He) has, all his life, protected human rights in our nation.

“He’s a prisoner for the second time, it reveals how the regime continuously persecutes those that combat for human rights in Belarus.”

When Lukashenko’s safety forces cracked down after the 2020 election, Byalyatsky, founding father of civil rights group Viasna, opted to remain within the nation regardless of the excessive threat of arrest.

He was finally arrested in July final yr and charged with tax evasion, to which authorities just lately added a brand new cost of unlawful cash transfers.

He’s in jail awaiting trial and faces a sentence of as much as 12 years if convicted. He had been imprisoned from 2011 to 2014.

He’s the fourth Nobel Peace Prize in detention, after the German Carl von Ossietzky in 1935, the Chinese language Liu Xiaobo in 2010 and the Burmese Aung San Suu Kyi, beneath home arrest in 1991.

The award shall be introduced in Oslo on December 10.

(This story has been reclassified to take away the garble in paragraph 1)