If ever there were an ironic moment in world news, Russian President Vladimir Putin being nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize is it. At the top of a record number of nominees on the list of Nobel candidates this, Putin may just be a symbol in the end, of how cream rises to the top. A villain to some, and a noble hero to others, there’s no question Vladimir Putin is the most powerful and influential man on Earth. But is he Nobel material?
Joining Putin on the list of potential candidates were Pope Francis and former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has now narrowed the lists to between 25 and 40 so far, with the final list of a dozen or so set for April. First awarded in 1901, the prize includes 8 million Swedish crowns ($1.24 million) in cash, but the money won’t be the biggest win if the Russian President is chosen.
Ever increasingly, Putin seems to be the man who never loses, especially given wins for Snowden, Syria, Sochi and the inability of his detractors to deter his policies. Even with western media and politicians lined up to assault Putin, somehow citizens of the world admire him. Accordingly, the International Academy of Unity of Nations of the World has taken credit for naming Vladimir Putin as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Putin’s nomination comes largely by virtue of his role in diffusing the Syria military insertion by the United States over the use of chemical weapons there. Of course the recent upheaval in Ukraine is suggested by some to be a big “fail” for Putin now that his nomination is cemented, but should the outcome be determined positive in Europe, obviously this could cement Putin’s Nobel hopes. Speaking of “hopes”, it’s interesting to note the Russian President’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov (below right) commenting to Itar-Tass how his boss has never sought out awards. Speaking on Putin’s motivations, Peskov had this to add;
“The primary criterion for the president is satisfaction from a job well done.”
Despite Vladimir Putin’s notoriety and charisma, some claim the Russian President is actually possessed of an almost noble humility, especially in the presence of kids and animals. This character has been seen in many magazine and newspaper articles, and not just Russian ones. Other Russian Nobel Peace Prize candidates have included Andrey Sakharov (1975) and Mikhail Gorbachev (1990), and Putin winning now would encapsulate what has been, by any stretch of imagination, the one of the most successful Russian administrations ever to take office. Russia under Putin has flourished in a peacetime atmosphere, where past leadership gained notoriety during cold or hot wars.
At a time when the world has so few real leaders, so few sure fire winners, the continual wins by Putin and his PR machine present at least a test case for what a 21st century world leader should be. If a president should be a man of steel, unscathed by even the most virulent assault on his person or country, Russia has the front runner. If Putin can continue to squash every attempt from the west to impeach him and his policies, the next Nobel Peace Prize will be a well deserved Russian victory. Imagine if Ukraine is soothed, not by EU, UK, or USA rhetoric and strategizing, but without Vladimir Putin’s military having ever fired a shot in anger. I think it was Mohamed ElBaradei who said of the prize he won jointly with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):
” The Nobel Peace Prize is a powerful message. A durable peace is not a single achievement, but an environment, a process and a commitment.”
So far, even despite 1000 slaps in Russia’s face, the man and his country have managed to turn the other cheek. Now isn’t that something?