President Vladimir Putin has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize despite escalating tensions over sending Russian troops to Ukraine’s Crimea region.
Pope Francis, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban, are also on the list.
A record 278 candidates, including 47 organizations, have received nominations for this year’s prize, the Norwegian Nobel Institute’s director Geir Lundestad said.
Committee members met Tuesday to add their own suggestions. They focused on recent turmoil around the globe, including the crisis in Ukraine.
Russia seized control of Crimea after Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted on February 22. It has led to the most serious confrontation between Moscow and the West since the end of the Cold War in 1991.
Geir Lundestad said: “Part of the purpose of the committee’s first meeting is to take into account recent events, and committee members try to anticipate what could be the potential developments in political hotspots.”
Malala Yousafzai, 16, who was shot int e head by the Taliban for campaigning for equal education rights for girls, and Russian dissidents who have spoken out over human rights are also believed to be among the candidates.
The list of nominees also includes Pope Francis and Edward Snowden.
Conflicts between protesters and the governments of Thailand and Venezuela are also expected to be debated by the committee.
“We are getting an increasing number of nominations from people in countries that have never submitted nominations before,” Geir Lundestad said.
The nominations are kept secret for half a century but thousands of people can propose candidates, including members of national assemblies, and many make their choices public.
The committee reduced its list of potential winners to between 25 and 40 on Tuesday and will create a shortlist of about 12 names by the end of April.
The Nobel Peace Prize was first awarded in 1901.
The prize includes 8 million Swedish crowns ($1.15 million) in cash.
Nobel Peace Prize winner will be announced on the second Friday of October and the prize will be presented on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
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