Winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize from Belarus, Russia And Ukraine shared his vision of a better world and denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine during Saturday’s award ceremony.
Oleksandr Matveichuk of Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties rejected calls for a political settlement that would allow Russia to illegally retain some of Ukraine’s territories, saying that fighting for peace meant aggressors. Do not succumb to the pressure of its cruelty, it means to protect the people.
In a voice trembling with emotion, he said that a country under attack cannot reach peace by laying down arms. It will not be peace, but possession.
Matveichuk reiterated his earlier calls for Putin and Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko to provide his country’s territory for Russian troops to invade. ukraine To face an international tribunal.
We have to prove that the rule of law works, and justice exists, even if it is delayed, she said.
Matveichuk was named co-winner of the 2022 Peace Prize in October along with Russian human rights group Memorial and Ales Balyatsky, head of the Belarusian rights group Viasna. Later on Saturday, the other Nobel Prizes will be formally awarded during a ceremony in Stockholm.
Beliatsky, who is jailed for his trial in Belarus and faces up to 12 years in prison, was not allowed to send his speech. He shared some thoughts during a visit to his wife, Natalia Pinchuk, in prison, who spoke on his behalf at the award ceremony.
In my homeland, the entirety of Belarus is in a prison, Belyatsky said in remarks made by Pinchuk in the context of widespread protests against the August 2020 fraud-tainted vote that Lukashenko extended his rule. This award belongs to all my human rights friends, all civil activists, tens of thousands of Belarusians who have gone through beatings, torture, arrests, prisons.
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Baliatsky is the fourth person in the 121-year history of the Nobel Prize to receive the award while in prison or custody.
In remarks delivered by his wife, he called Lukashenko a tool of Putin, adding that the Russian leader seeks to establish his supremacy over the ex-Soviet land.
I know what kind of Ukraine would suit a dictatorship dependent on Russia and Putin, he said. Just like in today’s Belarus, where the voice of the oppressed is ignored and disregarded.
The triple Peace Prize award was seen as a stern rebuke to Putin, not only for his actions in Ukraine but for the Kremlin’s crackdown on domestic protests and its support for Lukashenko’s brutal repression of dissidents.
Russia’s Supreme Court in December 2021 shut down Memorial, one of Russia’s oldest and most prominent human rights organizations, which was widely acclaimed for its study of political repression in the Soviet Union.
Previously, the Russian government had declared the organization a foreign agent, prompting additional government scrutiny and could discredit the targeted organization.
Yan Rachinsky of the Memorial said in his speech that the sad state of today’s civil society in Russia is a direct consequence of its unresolved past.
He specifically denounced the Kremlin’s efforts to discredit the history, statehood and independence of Ukraine and other former Soviet nations, saying that this became the ideological justification for the maniacal and criminal war against Ukraine.
One of the first victims of this madness was the historical memory of Russia itself, Rachinsky said. “Now, the Russian mass media justify the unprovoked armed invasion of a neighboring country, the annexation of territories, terror against civilians in the occupied territories, and war crimes by the need to fight fascism.”
While all of the winners spoke in unison to condemn the war in Ukraine, there were also some clear differences of opinion.
Matveichuk specifically declared that the Russian people would be responsible for this disgraceful page of their history and for their desire to restore the former empire by force.
Rachinsky described the Russian aggression against his neighbor as a monstrous burden, but strongly rejected the notion of national guilt.
It is not worth talking about national or any other collective crime, he said, adding that the notion of collective crime is abhorrent to fundamental human rights principles.
The joint work of the participants of our movement is based on a completely different ideological basis, on the understanding of civic responsibility for the past and the present.
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