Russian Sells Nobel Peace Prize For $103.5 Million - Proceeds To Go To Ukrainian Refugee Children

Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize medal for a record-breaking $103.5 million to help Ukrainian children affected by the war.
credit: NTB Scanpix / Alamy.
The 60-year-old editor-in-chief was co-awarded the peace prize in 2021 alongside Filipino journalist Maria Ressa for defending the freedom of the press.

Muratov, who co-founded the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, was fiercely critical of President Vladimir Putin and his government. In April, the journalist was attacked with red oil paint and acetone for his criticism of the President.
Credit: Sipa US / Alamy
Muratov's objection to the Russian government also led to his independent newspaper suspending its operations in March after warnings from the Kremlin over its coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Following the sale of his peace prize, Muratov 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."

All profits from the auction, which coincided with World Refugee Day on Monday (June 20), will support UNICEF's response to the Ukrainian conflict and support displaced child refugees.
Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov attends the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony on December 10, 2021. Credit: UPI / Alamy.
Per The Independent, according to the auction house, the winning bid was made by proxy, and the identity of the owner is anonymous.

The auction was reportedly Muratov's idea, and he had already announced that he would be donating the $500,000 cash award he received from his Nobel peace prize to charity.

Muratov also said after the bidding that he was hoping that there was going to be an "enormous amount of solidarity," but he was "not expecting this to be such a huge amount".

According to Reuters, the sale of the journalist's award broke the record for any Nobel medal that has been auctioned off, with reports stating that the previous highest deal was just under $5 million.

The bidding for the award began on June 1, online and by telephone. Originally, the highest bid stood at $550,000, after which, bids increased and climbed to over one million dollars and beyond.

"I can’t believe it, I’m awestruck," Joshua Benesh, the chief strategy officer for Heritage Auctions, said after the auction. "Personally, I’m flabbergasted… 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," added Benesh.

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