Dmitry Muratov, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and publisher of one of the last major independent newspapers in Russia, has auctioned off the medal he received for the award in New York for a record $103.5 million, about 98, 3 million euros, to help children displaced by the war in Ukraine. All proceeds will go entirely to Unicef.
The bidding, which was conducted by the Heritage auction house, lasted 20 minutes in which the price of the medal rose from 787,000 dollars to 15 million, when suddenly an anonymous buyer communicated by telephone that he paid 103.5 million dollars. , ending the sale. Although other medals won by Nobel laureates have been sold or auctioned in the past, none have ever reached even a tenth of that amount, and in fact the most expensive medal had sold for $4.76 million in 2014.
Muratov’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, fiercely critical of President Vladimir Putin and his government, suspended operations in Russia in March after state warnings about its coverage of the war in Ukraine. The pressure against the Russian liberal media has been continuous under Putin and has increased since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine. Muratov was attacked with red paint in April.
Russia’s mainstream media and state-controlled organizations closely follow the language used by the Kremlin to describe the conflict with Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation” to ensure Russian security and de-Nazize its neighbor. Kyiv and its Western allies say it is an unprovoked war of aggression.
“This award is unlike any other auction bid that has been submitted,” Heritage Auctions said in a statement ahead of the sale. “Mr. Muratov, with the full support of his staff at Novaya Gazeta, allows us to auction his medal not as a collector’s item but as an event that he hopes will positively impact the lives of millions of Ukrainian refugees.”
Muratov, who co-founded Novaya Gazeta in 1991, won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize with Maria Ressa of the Philippines for what the Nobel Prize committee said were “their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for the democracy and lasting peace”. Muratov, who has pledged to donate some $500,000 of the prize money to charity, dedicated his Nobel to the six Novaya Gazeta journalists who have been killed since 2000. That list included journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a critic of the Russian war in Chechnya, who was murdered in 2006 in the elevator of her apartment building in Moscow.