Meet the Russian journalist who sold his Nobel prize for $103.5 million to help Ukrainian war refugees

Famous Russian journalist and editor of Novaya Gazeta, Dmitry Muratov auctioned his medal for $103.5 million

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

NH Political Bureau

A staunch critic of the Kremlin and famous Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov auctioned his medal for $103.5 million to help Ukrainian refugees.

The editor of Novaya Gazeta – a Russian newspaper famous for its anti-Putin coverage received the Nobel peace prize with Maria Ressa of the Philippines this year.

According to news agency AP, a spokesperson for Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale, said that the medal was auctioned for a record $103.5 million.

Muratov, after the auction, in an interview said, “I was hoping that there was going to be an enormous amount of solidarity, but I was not expecting this to be such a huge amount”.

Muratov has been highly critical of Putin’s administration and Russia's annexation of Crimea and the war launched in February that has caused nearly 5 million Ukrainians to flee to other countries for safety, creating the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II.

Ever since Putin came into power, as per an estimate, nearly two dozen journalists have been killed, including at least four who had worked for Muratov's newspaper.

Muratov said that the proceeds will go directly to UNICEF in its efforts to help children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

UNICEF told the auction house it had already received the funds, immediately after the auction was over.

As per media reports, previously, the highest amount ever paid for a Nobel Prize medal was $4.76 million in 2014, when James Watson, whose co-discovery of the structure of DNA earned him a Nobel Prize in 1962, sold his.

Three years later, the family of his co-recipient, Francis Crick, received $2.27 million in bidding also run by Heritage Auctions.

Novaya Gazeta was closed down in March amid the Kremlin’s clampdown on journalists and public dissent in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Online bids had begun on June 1 to coincide with the International Children’s Day observance. Many bids came by telephone or online. The winning bid, tendered by telephone, catapulted the bidding from the low millions to astronomical levels, reported news agency AP.

As per the media reports, Muratov is in New York City, US where live bidding began Monday evening.

“I can’t believe it. I’m awestruck. Personally, I’m flabbergasted. I’m stunned. I don’t really know what happened in there. We knew that there was a tremendous groundswell of interest in the last couple of days by people who were moved by Dimitry’s story, by Dimitry’s act of generosity, that the global audience was listening tonight,” said Joshua Benesh, the chief strategy officer for Heritage Auctions.

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