Putin Wins Chinese Peace Prize for His Gentle Invasion of Chechnya

It's about time Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was recognized for his work in Chechnya, where Russian Federation troops killed as many as 5,000 civilians and 10,000 Chechen troops, as well as displaced a quarter-million refugees. Thankfully, the China International Peace Studies Center has stepped forward to bestow its prestigious Confucius Peace Prize on Putin for the "iron hand and toughness" he peacefully displayed in his invasion of Chechnya.

Yes, they give out peace prizes for wars now, reports the New York Times' Ed Wong. It's not entirely clear who or what the China International Peace Studies Center is and what relationship it has to the Chinese government—it's a labyrinthine story that Wong goes into at some length—but the prize carries a $15,000 payday. It was originally conceived as a sort of anti-Nobel Peace Prize after Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won that award last year, but it appears that the Chinese government has attempted to downplay it this year.

That didn't stop the committee that awards it from settling on Putin:

"His iron hand and toughness revealed in this war impressed the Russians a lot, and he was regarded to be capable of bringing safety and stability to Russia," read an English version of the committee's statement. "He became the anti-terrorist No. 1 and the national hero."

[snip]

"Those wars were righteous wars," Qiao Damo, the self-described co-founder and president of the Confucius Peace Prize committee, said in a telephone interview. "Mr. Putin fought for the unification of his country."

Mr. Qiao also said that the committee, which had voted for Mr. Putin from among eight nominees, valued Mr. Putin for his opposition to war. "He was against NATO bombing of Libya," Mr. Qiao said.

Take that, Barack Obama.

It's unclear whether Putin will be on hand to personally accept the "gilded statuette of Confucius" that goes along with the prize at the awards ceremony next month.

[Image via Getty]