Sakharov Prize 2021


Alexei Navalny, currently imprisoned in Russia has been awarded Sakharov Prize 2021 by the European Union.

  • The EU's award to a member of the Russian opposition movement comes after Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov won the Nobel Peace Prize, a recognition that some of the jailed dissident's supporters described as "undeserving". Muratov himself said he would have given the prestigious honour to Navalny.

About Navalny

  • Alexei Anatolievich Navalny is a Russian opposition leader, lawyer, and anti-corruption activist. He came to international prominence by organizing anti-government demonstrations and running for office to advocate reforms against corruption in Russia, and against President Vladimir Putin and his government.
  • In August 2020, the activist was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent and was hospitalised in serious condition, with many of his supporters fearing for his life. Navalny was evacuated to a hospital in Berlin and eventually survived. He later accused the Kremlin of being behind the chemical attack.

Other Prominent Nominations

  • Along with Navalny, the most prominent nominations for this year’s award were Afghan women, whose plight has taken centre stage after the Taliban takeover, and Jeanine Áñez, a Bolivian politician who became interim president in 2019 after alleged electoral fraud by Evo Morales. Áñez was later arrested for allegedly plotting coup d’état against Morales.

About the Prize

  • The prize is the European Union's highest tribute to human rights defenders.
  • The Sakharov Prize was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • The annual award is named in honour of Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov, an advocate of civil liberties in the former Soviet Union.
  • The first recipients were Nelson Mandela and Anatoli Marchenko.