The 'International Stalin Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Peoples' Is Created

In June 1948, however, the leader of the Soviet-Norwegian Friendship Society and Communist Party member, Christian Hilt, wrote a letter to Stalin in which he proposed to set up a Maxim Gorky Foundation in the Soviet Union.

The interest from its funds would be used to award annual prizes to persons, Soviet or foreign, who had made "an outstanding contribution to mankind's struggle for civilization, freedom and peace."

We know now that Hilt's letter reached Stalin's Secretariat, and that shortly after, preparations were made to establish a new prize-awarding institution with prizes to be awarded in several different categories. It was not to be named the Gorky Prize, however. Instead, a set of Stalin Prizes was to be awarded, including an international Stalin Peace Prize, as part of the Soviet people's gift on his 70th birthday. Stalin rejected the proposed gift with one exception: the International Stalin Peace Prize. He also declared that the prize should not be awarded until after his death.

The prize was created as the International Stalin Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Peoples on December 21, 1949 by the ukaz of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet in honor of Joseph Stalin's seventieth birthday (although it was actually after his seventy-first). Following Nikita Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin during the Twentieth Party Congress of 1956, the prize was renamed on September 6 the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Peoples. All previous recipients were asked to return their Stalin Prizes so they could be replaced by the renamed Lenin Prize. By a decision of Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of December 11, 1989, the prize was renamed the International Lenin Peace Prize. Two years later, after the USSR had collapsed, the Russian government, as the successor state to the defunct Soviet Union, ended the award program.