Yesterday it became known that three applicants for the annual prize. Andrei Sakharov, who ended up in the final list, was chosen by the Russian politician Alexei Navalny. The Freedom of Thought Prize is awarded annually to a candidate selected by the European Parliament.
Strasbourg noted that the Russian oppositionist gained worldwide fame after his anti-corruption investigation, and he is the main political opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Vice Speaker of the European Parliament Heidi Hautala says:
“Alexei Navalny has shown incredible courage in trying to return the freedom of choice to the Russian people. For many years he has fought for the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in his country. It cost him his own freedom, for which he almost lost his life.”
The deputies recalled the sensational poisoning of Navalny, the defeat of his organizations, as well as the prison term. Although last week Putin once again noted that Navalny is in prison not for his political views and actions, but for violating Russian law. Deputy Chairman of the Legal Committee in the European Parliament Sergey Lagodinsky says:
“The UN and the European Union have always supported Alexei Navalny and in defense of his rights. Navalny is a political leader on a European and global scale, he is not just a local activist that everyone has forgotten about. He is a European symbol. This is what we want to convey to the public.”
In Strasbourg, they expressed the hope that on December 15, Alexei Navalny will be able to personally come to the award ceremony. But it is more likely that the politician’s associates or members of his family will become the recipients of the award. As a reminder, the prize is traditionally presented by the President of the European Parliament. Its size is 50,000 euros.