Following strong criticism of the planned awarding of the Quadriga Prize to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Board of Trustees has canceled this year’s award ceremony. Public prere had become "increasingly unbearable" and there was a danger of further escalation.
The trustees said in Berlin on Saturday that they had already apologized to the four nominated award winners in total for the cancellation and asked for their understanding, "not least to protect the award winners".
Most recently, former Czech President Vaclav Havel threatened to return the award given to him two years ago if it was given to Putin this year. Three members of the board of trustees had already resigned from the board in protest against Putin’s nomination. She was criticized above all for pointing out human rights deficits in Russia.
Kohl and Gorbachev among previous winners
According to the organizers, the Quadriga Prize has been awarded since 2003 to personalities and projects whose thinking and actions are based on values "that serve vision, courage and responsibility".
Among those honored so far are former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (CDU), former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and GDR civil rights activist Barbel Bohley.