Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov auctioned his Nobel Peace Prize on Monday for a record $103.5 million with the proceeds donated to help Ukrainian children.
The auction-record amount will support United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) child refugee fund, according to Heritage Auctions. The donation will support Ukrainian child refugees impacted due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“This award is unlike any other auction offering to present,” Heritage Auctions said in a statement ahead of the sale.
“Mr. Muratov, with the full support of his staff at Novaya Gazeta, is allowing us to auction his medal not as a collectible but as an event that he hopes will positively impact the lives of millions of Ukrainian refugees,” it added.
“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 said during an interview after bidding ended on World Refugee Day. The highest previous amount paid for a Nobel Prize medal was $4.76 million in 2014, according to the Associated Press.
Muratov, the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, won the prize in 2021 along with Filipino journalist Maria Ressa. He dedicated the prize to the members of his paper who had lost their lives in their work.
“Novaja Gazeta‘s opponents have responded with harassment, threats, violence, and murder. Since the newspaper’s start, six of its journalists have been killed, including Anna Politkovskaya who wrote revealing articles on the war in Chechnya,” according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee in October, per Mediaite.
Until it suspended its operations, the publication had “published critical articles on subjects ranging from corruption, police violence, unlawful arrests, electoral fraud and ‘troll factories’ to the use of Russian military forces both within and outside Russia,” according to the committee.
Muratov was attacked in April with red paint while on a Russian train. U.S. government officials confirmed that Russian intelligence was behind the attack over Muratov’s criticisms of the Russian government.
“The United States can confirm that Russian intelligence orchestrated the 7 April attack on Novaya Gazeta’s editor in chief Dmitry Muratov, in which he was splashed with red paint containing acetone,” a U.S. official said in an April statement, according to The Washington Post.
The attack highlighted the dangers to journalists who have opposed the Russian government. In addition to Muratov, The Daily Wire previously reported that on August 20, 2020, the leading political opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Alexei Navalny, suddenly fell seriously and mysteriously ill while on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow. After an emergency landing, Navalny was rushed to a hospital and put into a coma. Two days later, he was evacuated to a hospital in Germany.
There, five certified labs from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that a nerve agent had been used to poison Navalny.
“The presence of this poison was discovered without any doubt,” then German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced at the time. “Therefore, it is now certain that Alexei Navalny is the victim of a crime. The attempt was to silence him, and I condemn this.”