The Nobel Foundation’s decision to invite Russian ambassadors to Nobel Prize ceremonies this year has drawn strong criticism from Swedish and Ukrainian politicians.
The Nobel Foundation announced on Thursday that it would invite ambassadors from all countries with diplomatic representation to Sweden and Norway, where the award ceremonies are due to take place in December. This includes Russia and Belarus, which were excluded last year following Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Nobel Foundation executive director Vidar Helgesen said in a statement that the move was made to counter a trend that “dialogue between those with differing views is reduced.”
But this announcement sparked strong reactions in Sweden, with many politicians announcing that they would boycott the event. Leader of the Center Party Muharrem Demirokleader of the Left Party Nooshi Dadgostar and co-spokesperson for the Green Party Marta Stenevi all announced on X, formerly Twitter, that they would not be attending the ceremonies.
Johan Pehrson, Leader of the Liberal Party, said he “will not sit down to toast the Russian ambassador while Putin’s disgusting and bloody war of aggression continues in Ukraine.”
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson reportedly said he was “very surprised” to see Russia invited and that he would not have made the same decision.
Andrii Plakhotniuk, Ukrainian Ambassador to Sweden, also critical the Nobel Foundation’s announcement, urging the foundation to reconsider its decision, while Oleg Nikolenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s foreign ministry, said the decision would likely increase the “feeling of impunity and new crimes” of the Kremlin and asked the Nobel Foundation to “support international efforts” to isolate Russia and Belarus.