Meet The Russian Crooner Who Just Nominated Vladimir Putin For A Nobel Peace Prize

Putin should win for “trying to stop the bloodshed” in Syria, said Iosif Kobzon, also a parliamentarian from Putin’s United Russia party.

1. On Tuesday, this man, a popular Russian singer named Iosif Kobzon, said he was part of a group that had nominated Vladimir Putin for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Ria Novosti / Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin stands with popular singer Iosif Kobzon at an award ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow August 29, 2012.

2. Kobzon said Putin “deserves” the prize more than Obama, who won a Nobel in 2009.

Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

3. Kobzon is kind of like a Russian Frank Sinatra. He’s been belting it out for decades.

4. He’s also been haunted by allegations of links to the Russian mafia. He’s been repeatedly denied a U.S. visa as a result.

5. But he and Putin get along. Kobzon is also a member of the Russian parliament, and Putin’s given him a bunch of prizes.

Pool / Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) presents popular singer Iosif Kobzon with a state medal at an award ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow August 29, 2012.

6. Now it’s Kobzon’s turn. He told a Moscow press conference that he was a part of a group called “the International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation of Peoples of the World” that had nominated Putin for the Prize.

Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

Kobzon told the press conference: “Barack Obama has the title of Nobel Prize winner — the man who initiated and approved such aggressive actions on the part of the United States of America as in Iraq, Afghanistan, some others, and now is preparing for invasion of Syria. I think our president, who is trying to stop the bloodshed, who is trying to help to resolve this conflict situation through a political dialogue, through diplomatic language, deserves this title more.”

7. Some Russians weren’t so into it. “Even if Putin stopped the war in Syria, I think his actions hide everything he is doing in Russia. What peace prize?”

Если даже Путин остановил войну в Сирии, то я считаю, что это действие не покрывает все то, что он творит в России. Какая еще Премия мира?

— yanamiracle (@yana dεl sadness)

8. The idea got lots of tweets of support. In completely identical language: “Putin prevented war. A prize would be logical #Putinisapeacemaker”

Путин предотвратил войну. Премия будет логичной #ПутинМиротворец

— talahntishhe (@Талантище)

Путин предотвратил войну. Премия будет логичной #ПутинМиротворец

— suroko_fx (@Сурок ФХ)

Путин предотвратил войну. Премия будет логичной #ПутинМиротворец

— julwia1988_50 (@Julia1988 50)

11. Good luck, Mr Putin.

Handout / Getty Images

12. Keep singing, Mr Kobzon.

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Miriam Elder is the Foreign Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Miriam Elder at
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