A Russian journalist, Dmitry Muratov who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 along with Maria Ressa has auctioned off his Nobel medal in a bid to aid displaced Ukranian children.
Muratov and Ressa won the Nobel last year for “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.” They were honored for their battles to preserve free speech despite coming under attack by harassment, their governments and even death threats.
The gold medal given to Muratov was auctioned off and eventually sold for $103.5m , a record for a Nobel.
Reacting to the sale, he 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,”
The previous record for a Nobel Peace Price was in 2014, when James Watson, whose co-discovery of the structure of DNA earned him a Nobel Prize in 1962, sold his medal for $4.76 million. Three years later, the family of his co-recipient, Francis Crick, received $2.27 million in bids for their medal.
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Dmitry Muratov is the editor-in-chief of independent Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta. Back in March, the newspaper suspended its operations after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This suspension came after the Russian government said anyone who described the country’s actions in Ukraine as a “war” would face heavy fines or closures.
According to the journalist, the proceeds will go directly to UNICEF in its efforts to help children who have been displaced by the war in Ukraine. In a couple minutes after the bidding ended, UNICEF announced that it had already received the funds.
On why he chose Unicef as the recipient of the funds, Muratov said, “It’s critical to us that that organisation does not belong to any government. It can work above government. There are no borders for it.”
Since its inception in 1901, there have been 947 winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize honors achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and the advancement of peace.