Was Nobel Peace Prize pick a 'sophisticated nod to Putin'?
Russian media claims the choice of OPCW for this year's Nobel 'indirectly acknowledges' president
THE Nobel Peace Prize committee has "indirectly acknowledged" Russian President Vladimir Putin by awarding the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Russia's media has claimed.
The decision to present the award to the body that is overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons is viewed by some as a political nod to Putin, who first came up with the idea, and was also in the running for the prize.
Officially, neither Putin nor the OPCW were nominated for their recent impact on the Syrian conflict, as nominations had to be submitted before 1 February. But many have said it is hard to imagine that the OPCW would have won without its high-profile role in Syria, which was acknowledged among other achievements by the Nobel committee when it presented the award on Friday.
'Nod to Putin'
The Moscow Times says the committee's choice was a "nod to Putin" and his efforts to dissuade the US from launching an attack on Syria. "Giving the award to the OPCW is a politically sophisticated choice, but it looks like a cunning move and a way to avoid giving the prize to those who prevented a war in Syria," Alexei Pushkov, head of the State Duma's International Affairs Committee, told the newspaper. While Valery Ryazansky, a senior member of Russia's Federation Council, says the Nobel committee has "acknowledged that the resolution of the Syrian issue proposed by the Russian leadership to the international community was recognised as the most effective".
Several commentators have noted the irony that it was Barack Obama – the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner – who Putin had to dissuade from bombing Syria. Iosif Kobzon, a Russian singer and State Duma deputy, told Pravda that it was "absolutely unfair" the prize did not go to Putin. "Who forced Syria to destroy chemical weapons, if not Putin?" he asks.
In Russia Today, American-German political analyst F William Engdahl describes the move as a "political dodge" by the Oslo Nobel Peace Prize Committee. Putin should have won for "giving Obama an escape route" out of what could have become "World War III", he told the newspaper. Engdahl describes the Nobel committee as "very much a political body" and "very much connected to the Nato agenda both in the civilian side and military side". He adds: "If you look at the pattern of the awarding of the Peace Prize – actually, over several decades – you'll get a very strong impression that it's underscoring a certain Western agenda, globalist agenda if you will."
Critics of the Russian president, however, remain incredulous that he even made it onto the list. Putin was officially nominated by a Russian advocacy group for "actively promoting the settlement of all conflicts arising on the planet". But critics ask how the architect of a "ruthless and violent campaign" against separatists in Chechnya and Georgia could be a laureate of peace. They also point out that the former KGB colonel aided the Bashar al-Assad regime and has recently eroded human rights in Russia by criminalising virtually every aspect of being, or seeming to be, gay, or promoting the interests of those who are. ·