Although many experts believe campaigners for women, Indigenous peoples, or the environment could well steal the Nobel Peace Prize stage this year, Russian dissident Alexei Navalny and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are emerging as strong contenders and even favorites for the coveted prize.
The top candidate to join the illustrious list of laureates, according to bookmakers, is the Ukrainian president though Nobel specialists believe it is unlikely for him to be named since he’s a wartime leader.
The chances of the imprisoned Navalny are diminished by the fact that the Nobel Peace Prize last year and the year before went to Russian dissidents.
The third strong contender is jailed Uyghur activist Ilham Tohti, despite the risk of enraging China, who froze diplomatic relations with Oslo for six years after the Peace Prize went to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010.
Per the director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, Henrik Urdal, the Norwegian Nobel Committee may decide to shine a light on the contribution of activists to peace in the year marking the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Urdal mentioned in this context Afghanistan’s Mahbouba Seraj who campaigns for girls’ rights to education and other women’s rights despite the Taliban ban and imprisoned Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi who campaigns for women’s rights and against the death penalty.
Given past form, however, the Nobel Committee is capable of a complete surprise in the Oct. 6 announcement.