Vladimir Putin. Photo: Sari Gustafsson / NTB scanpix
The conflict in Ukraine and President Putin's iron grip on his own country has resulted in speculation the Nobel Peace Prize this year will go to Russian dissidents. But US whistleblower Edward Snowden, now a Russian resident, is also hotly tipped.
Russia's regime-critical newspaper Novaya Gazeta is a favourite to scoop the award.
Established by former president Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993 with the help of prize money coming from his own Nobel prize win, the newspaper has directed fierce criticism at Vladimir Putin's regime.
The newspaper has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by, among others, peace prize historian Antoine Jacob and the French news agency AFP.
In Norway, the head of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (Institutt for Fredsforskning, PRIO), Kristian Berg Harpviken, agrees with speculation that puts Novaya Gazeta as one of the hottest candidates this year.
Harpviken said to NRK: “The newspaper [Novaja Gazeta] has been on my list for many years. What happens in Russia is very, very serious when it comes to human rights, freedom of speech and democracy - and not least, the situation in Ukraine.”
The environment and human rights activist Lyudmila Alekseyeva, regarded as the godmother of the human rights movement in Russia, is put forward by TV2 as one of the hottest candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. She has played a bold role in opposition to Putin, and has, among other things, criticised him several times for his attitudes against gay people.
Russia is also the current residence of US whistleblower Edward Snowden, widely considered one of the most likely winners of the Nobel prize on Friday.