Vladimir Putin has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Russian president, who has generated worldwide controversy in past months by signing antigay laws and seizing the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, is one of 231 individuals and 47 organizations nominated for the 2014 prize, which in past years has been awarded to Nelson Mandela and Elie Wiesel for their contributions to humanity.
The Committee reports this year as having "the highest number of candidates ever," according to NPR. It must narrow this pool of 278 nominees to about 12 candidates by April.
In addition to Putin, whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning (the imprisoned trangender veteran) were among the nominees, as well as Pope Francis, whom The Advocate titled "Person of the Year" for his evolving views on gays and lesbians.
Geir Lundestad, the director of the Nobel Committee, told Reuters that recent events would be taken into consideration when selecting a winner, which is set to be announced on October 10, 2014. The prize will be officially conferred on December 10, the date of founder Alfred Nobel's death.
"Part of the purpose of the committee's first meeting is to take into account recent events, and committee members try to anticipate what could be the potential developments in political hotspots," Lundestad said.
Anyone can be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, but only those approved by the Nobel Committee have the power to nominate, reports the Peace Research Institute Oslo, which monitors the Nobel Committee. Thousands, including members of national assemblies and government worldwide, are eligible to submit candidates for consideration.
According to the will of Alfred Nobel, the Peace Prize should be awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."