Andrei Sakharov, who is considered the father-creator of the hydrogen bomb, realized the potential threat of nuclear bombs for the fate of all mankind and began fighting for peace and human rights; Sakharov became a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 1975, and another annually awarded prize was named after him (50 000 €) – Sakharov Prizefor Freedom of Thought.

Andrei Sakharov involvement in creating a hydrogen bomb (the most destructive weaponin the history of mankind), and his dissident activities occurred in the period of the existence of the USSR (in 1991 the Soviet Union as a state ceased to exist). Andrei Sakharov was a famous fighter for freedom of speech and human rights at the time and, especially, for the freeing the world of nuclear weapons.

Who Established the Sakharov Prize

The award was established by the European Parliament when Andrei Sakharov was still alive in 1988 (Sakharov died in 1989).

Andrei Sakharov 1989

Andrei Sakharov (1989)

Who Can Receive Sakharov Prize

Interestingly, that in contrast to the well-known Nobel Prize, Sakharov Prize may be awarded not only to individuals but also to organizations. Sakharov Prize is awarded to those who fight against any attacks on the fundamental human rights such as freedom of speech, personal inviolability, freedom of movement and freedom of residence and so on.

It is interesting that human rights are defined in a very simple and unambiguous way in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

How the Sakharov Prize is Awarded

Interestingly, all nominations for the Sakharov Prize go through the committees of the European Parliament. Of course, the committees do not make the decision alone. They are influenced by a variety of groups. Yet the difference from the Nobel Prize which surveys thousands of leading experts in each fieldis clear.

So, we can assume that the nomination and the award of the Sakharov Prize have more of a political angle.

Almost a Detective Story

Another difference between the Sakharov Prize and the Nobel Prize –is almost an open discussion of candidates and nominees. In press about the final list for the Sakharov Prize 2013 such names appeared as Mikhail Khodorkovsky (Russia), and CIA analyst Edward Snowden (lives in Russia,) and Pakistani girl Malala Yusufzai. The advantage was on Snowden side (really, he basically turned the world of most people upside down by showing, for example, that even in social networks there is absolutely no privacy).

In his interview the Russian President Vladimir Putin compared Snowden with Andrei Sakharov. And … Snowden did not receive the Sakharov Prize. Perhaps it is a mere coincidence.

Undoubtedly, the Sakharov Prize helps to draw more attention to human rights around the world, but maybe wider circles of European public should be involved in the nominating procedure and determining the winners. 


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