OSLO, Norway — Russian President Vladimir Putin has been nominated for consideration for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize by a Russian advocacy group.
The International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation of Peoples of the World vice president Beslan Kobakhiya cited Mr Putin’s efforts to prevent U.S.-led air strikes against Syria over the deployment of chemical weapons, describing the Russian leader as a “person of the year,” saying that he had proven his commitment to global peace through personal example.
The activist group is on the list of those approved to make Nobel Peace Prize nominations, and according to Kobakhiya, the letter of recommendation was received by the Nobel committee last month.
The letter read in part:
[…] “Being the leader of one of the leading nations of the world, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin makes efforts to maintain peace and tranquility not only on the territory of his own country but also actively promotes settlement of all conflicts arising on the planet.”
The Nobel Committee formally does not comment on the names of nominees – or the people who nominated them – for 50 years after the prize is awarded.
Putin has come under fire for his stance on human rights, particularly the Russian government’s crackdown on the rights of its LGBT citizens.
On June 29, Putin signed a law imposing fines on individuals accused of spreading “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors, and imposes penalties for those who express these views online or in the news media.
Gay pride rallies also are banned, as are public display of affection, including holding hands, between persons of the same gender.
Weeks later, Putin signed a bill banning the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples abroad and by single people in countries that allow marriage equality.
Larry Poltavtsev, the executive director of McLean, Va.-based Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, said Putin has demonstrated a “lack of empathy for his LGBTQ citizenry,” and called the nomination “an affront to basic human dignity.”
“Here is a leader who speaks of human rights but allows his government to persecute a sexual minority and he supports such measures as the anti-gay propaganda law,” said Poltavtsev. “Then his refusal to let [Russian] orphans be adopted by other nations because gay people might adopt them? It is absurd. ”
“Then we have the case of deputy of the State Duma Alexei Zhuravlev who wants to take children away from their gay parents,” he said. “Putin has not spoken out to stop such proposals and for this deserves a Nobel Peace prize?”
Russian Duma Deputy (Member of Parliament ) Iosif Kobzon backed the Russian leader’s nomination, comparing Putin with President Barack Obama, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.
The Nobel Committee website states that the prize is awarded to the “person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
The deadline for nominees for 2014 is next February, and the recipient will be announced on October 11, 2014.