Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Let Medvedev Share Nobel With Obama

It is a pity that President Dmitry Medvedev will not share the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize with U.S. President Barack Obama. In my view, he deserves it no less than Obama, whose principal accomplishments are still in the future.

Together with Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Medvedev is responsible for changing the tone and direction of international politics to craft a better world.

Not unlike Obama, Medvedev inherited a foreign policy plate that was driving his country into isolationism and debilitating self-pity.

In fits and starts in less than two years, he has managed to transform Russia’s international role from that of an estranged spoiler to that of a constructive problem-solver with a stake in a functional world order. Medvedev has gradually steered Russia away from the unilateralist initiatives taken by his predecessor.

He shares Obama’s penchant for multilateral diplomacy and has worked to make international institutions — from the United Nations to the nascent Group of 20 — stronger and more efficient.  His more pragmatic position on Iran is likely to make global efforts to stop Tehran’s secretive nuclear program more effective.

Medvedev commanded a successful war that was forced upon him. Like Obama in Afghanistan, he did not go wobbly in Georgia and proved his resolve to defend Russia’s interests and citizens. Medvedev’s toughest foreign policy decision has been to unilaterally recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Despite broad international criticism, Medvedev’s perseverance on this issue casts him as a world leader with a strong set of values. He does not crave popularity, just respect for his country.

Obama won his Nobel for a number of flowery foreign policy speeches and a vision for a nuclear-free world that is not likely to take shape in his lifetime. From this perspective, Medvedev’s call in 2008 for a new, all-encompassing security architecture in Europe is a much more realistic and no less peacemaking undertaking worthy of a Nobel. Medvedev needs to work on this much more to make it a reality.

Medvedev’s greatest challenge in foreign policy is to restore Russia’s leadership in the region encompassing the former Soviet republics. It is a Herculean task with all cards stacked against him, one that is not likely to win him a Nobel.

But this is what he has to do to secure an honorable legacy for himself.

Vladimir Frolov is president of LEFF Group, a government-relations and PR company.