The Nobel Foundation has banned Russian and Belarusian envoys, along with those from Iran, from attending the Nobel prize ceremonies, which will take place in Stockholm, Sweden on 10 December. The decision came on 2 September, just two days after the foundation announced that it had reversed course from its decision last year to exclude representatives from Russia and Belarus from the festivities because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Belarus’s involvement in enabling that war.

‘It is clear that the world is increasingly divided into spheres, where dialogue between those with differing views is being reduced,’ said Vidar Helgesen, the Nobel Foundation’s executive, in the initial 31 August statement. ‘To counter this tendency, we are now broadening our invitations to celebrate and understand the Nobel prize and the importance of free science, free culture and free, peaceful societies,’ he added.

The foundation’s decision to reinvite Russia and Belarus to the Nobel ceremonies had met significant opposition, especially from Swedish politicians. Johan Pehrson, Sweden’s employment and integration minister, called the move ‘extremely injudicious’ in a post to X, formerly known as Twitter, indicating that he would boycott the event over Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

But the Nobel Institute said all ambassadors are welcome at the Norwegian Nobel peace prize award ceremony in Oslo, which will also be held on 10 December. The Nobel Institute, which selects the Nobel peace prize recipients, emphasised that all envoys are invited to the Oslo festivities because of a seven-decade tradition of inviting all foreign ambassadors to that event. The 2023 Nobel prize winners will be announced in early October.

‘The [Norwegian Nobel] committee wishes the government authorities in every country officially represented in Norway to have the opportunity to take part in the award ceremony and to familiarise themselves with the Nobel peace prize laureates’ important messages,’ the Nobel Institute explained. ‘This applies not least to countries with an authoritarian regime which wage war against other countries or against their own population, and which our peace prize laureates oppose.’