Russian President Vladimir Putin is a deep-sea diver, a tiger hunter and a judo champion -- if you believe his busy PR team. Up next on his list of accomplishments...the Nobel Peace Prize?
A group of prominent Russians announced Tuesday that it plans to nominate Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in mediating the conflict in Syria, AFP reports. The group, which consists of activists and lawmakers, said the Nobel Prize Committee had received its letter of recommendation on Sept. 20.
Detailing the motivations of the group, Russian politician and singer Iosif Kobzon told reporters he finds Putin "more worthy" of the award than U.S. President Barack Obama, who won in 2009, RIA Novosti reports. Beslan Kobakhiya, vice president of the Russian International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation, added that he considers Putin the "person of the year."
The group's announcement comes in the wake of a September initiative by Sergei Komkov, the president of the Russian Foundation for Education, who urged the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to consider Putin as a recipient of the award. “Vladimir Putin has proved his adherence to the cause of peace,” Komkov said in a letter, according to HuffPost UK. “As the head of one of the leading countries of the world, he has made every effort to maintain peace and tranquility in his own state and has actively contributed to peaceful settlement of any conflicts arising on the planet.
However, as HuffPost UK notes, Komkov's letter did not serve as a formal nomination since he does not have the authority to nominate Putin.
The Russian president's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Russia’s Izvestia paper the strongman was aware of the letters but is not lobbying for a nomination. "Mr. Putin does not actually seek any awards, prizes, etc. What he is really after is satisfaction from seeing the fruits of his work," Peskov said.
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee is accepting nominations until February. As the Associated Press explained, the award's committee will not identify the nominees before announcing a winner in October.
Putin would not be the first controversial winner, let alone the first controversial nominee. If officially nominated, Putin would join the ranks of Bob Dylan, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. Controversial winners include Henry Kissinger, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and U.S. President Barack Obama.