NEW YORK: On Monday, Dmitry Muratov, the editor-in-chief of the independent Russian daily Novaya Gazeta, auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize gold medal for $103.5 million to aid children displaced by the Ukraine crisis.
The medal was sold to an undisclosed phone bidder at Heritage Auctions in New York.
The auction was lively, with much applause and bidders encouraging one another to raise the total. Muratov was caught on camera filming the bidding screen and those present.
Many in the room, including Muratov, were stunned when the final proposal came in at tens of millions of dollars higher than the prior offer.
Muratov and Filipino writer Maria Ressa were awarded the medal in 2021, with the committee praising them “for their efforts to defend freedom of expression.”
After the Soviet Union fell apart in 1993, he was one of a group of journalists who created Novaya Gazeta.
It was the only major newspaper remaining this year to criticize President Vladimir Putin and his actions both inside and outside Russia.
Novaya Gazeta halted operations in Russia in March, more than a month after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, when Moscow passed legislation imposing harsh prison sentences on anybody who criticizes the Kremlin’s murderous military assault.
All earnings from Muratov’s medal went to UNICEF’s Humanitarian Response for Ukrainian Children Displaced by War.