Putin Wins the Other Nobel Prize

President Vladimir Putin has won a Nobel prize.

Not the better-known Nobel Peace Prize that has been awarded by the Oslo-based committee to luminaries such as former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev or former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Instead, Putin has won the Ludvig Nobel Prize for services to Russia — an award organized by Russian businessmen and artists that, apart from shared historical roots, has no connection to today's Nobel Peace Prize.

"Under the previous president, [Boris] Yeltsin, there was chaos and lawlessness," said Yevgeny Lukoshkov, who heads the Ludvig Nobel Prize's selection committee.

"Somebody had to stand up and take responsibility and stop the robberies and murders," Lukoshkov said. "Putin took responsibility for eight years."

Putin, 55, is set to step down next month after eight years in office. His protОgО and successor, President-elect Dmitry Medvedev, is to be sworn in May 7.

"He was very pleased to win," Lukoshkov said of Putin. "But he couldn't make it to the ceremony. I don't know why."

Ludvig Nobel, who lived mainly in St. Petersburg and became a Russian citizen, was the older brother of Alfred Nobel — founder of the Nobel Prizes for physics, chemistry, medicine and literature in Stockholm and the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.

Like his brother, Ludvig made huge profits in the 19th century by extracting oil from the coastline around the Azeri capital of Baku. He is also credited with inventing the oil tanker.

In 1888, seven years after Ludvig Nobel's death, the Imperial Russian Technology Society established the Ludvig Nobel prize — an act that some historians say inspired Alfred Nobel to establish his own prizes in his will nearly 10 years later.

The 1917 Bolshevik revolution ended the Ludvig Nobel prize, but four years ago Lukoshkov and others decided to reinstate it.

"It's a prize for well-known people who have personally worked in their lives to make Russia a better place," Lukoshkov said.

Unlike the Nobel Peace Prize, there is no cash award for the Ludvig Nobel prize.

"We decided that you can't measure everything with money," Lukoshkov said.