A Russian Nobel laureate is selling his medal for nearly 100 million euros to Ukrainian children

Russian Nobel Prize for helping children displaced by the war in Ukraine. Dmitry Muratov, Russian editor of the independent investigative newspaper Novaya GazetaOn Monday, he sold his medal by winning the prestigious award in 2021.

The object set a new record for auctions of this type: the buyer paid 103.5 million dollars (about 98 million euros) to bear it. This amount will be donated to a UNICEF program for Ukrainian children displaced by the conflict, according to Heritage Auctions, which is responsible for the sale.

UNICEF, which does not belong to “any government”

Dmitriy Muratov won the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, with the committee honoring their “efforts in preserving freedom of expression”. Dedicate it to his diary Novaya Gazeta and his associates “who died defending people’s right to freedom of expression.”

The sale, which took place in New York, was very lively, punctuated by many applause and stimulating bidders who encouraged each other to push the sale to the top. The medal was eventually awarded to an unidentified model. When the final show, which was tens of millions of dollars more than the previous one, fell, the room, including Dmitry Muratov himself, was taken aback. His choice of UNICEF as the recipient of the funds was motivated by the concern “it is necessary for us that this organization does not belong to any government,” but that it can “work above,” without “boundaries.”

Newspaper silenced by war

Dmitriy Muratov is one of the founders of the newspaper NOvaia Gazeta It was founded in 1993 after the fall of the Soviet Union and has been liberated almost continuously since then. The three-weekly magazine is particularly well known for its investigations into corruption and human rights abuses in Chechnya, and this year became the last major newspaper to criticize President Vladimir Putin and his tactics inside and outside the country.

Novaya Gazeta It announced at the end of March that it would suspend its online and print publications in Russia until the end of the intervention in Ukraine, in a complete crackdown on the Kremlin against dissonant voices. ” There is no other solution. For us, and I know you, this is a shocking and painful decision. The Nobel Prize winner wrote in a letter to the readers of the newspaper. According to him, his editors have continued their work for 34 days “under conditions of military censorship”, since the beginning of the Russian offensive .

The newspaper has already paid a heavy price for its commitment: Six of its journalists or shareholders have been killed since the 1990s, including the famous journalist Anna Politkovska, known for her criticism of the Kremlin’s bloody war in Chechnya and was assassinated on October 7, 2006. The sponsors of this crime have not been identified.

‘We must help the people who suffer the most’

Shocked by this murder, Dmitry Muratov had considered closing the newspaper, which seemed to him “dangerous to people’s lives”, as he was captured in March 2021 to AFP, but decided to continue, facing the insistence of its editorial board. On Monday, he praised the persistence of journalists, who constitute an important obstacle to governments and a means to prevent war. “No matter how many times each of us wants to give notice and quit, we have to stay in our jobs,” he told AFP.

In a video posted by Heritage Auctions, the journalist said winning the Nobel Prize “gives you a chance to have your voice heard”. “The most important message today is for people to understand that conflict is happening and that we have to help the people who are suffering the most,” he added, referring in particular to “children in refugee families.

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