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Russian journalist auctions his Nobel prize for a record $103.5 million to aid Ukrainian children

Russian journalist auctions his Nobel prize for a record $103.5 million to aid Ukrainian children

Dmitry Muratov was honored with the accolade in October last year after he helped form the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and even became the publication’s editor-in-chief.

Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize to raise money for Ukrainian child refugees. According to TODAY, the prestigious award sold for a whopping $103.5 million on Monday night, breaking the old award for a Nobel.

James Watson held the title previously for being paid the most for a Nobel Prize medal. Watson's co-discovery of the structure of DNA earned him the gold medal in 1962 which he sold in 2014 for $4.76 million. 

As for Muratov, he was honored with the accolade in October last year after he helped form the independent Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, and even became the publication’s editor-in-chief. However, in March it shut down amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its subsequent clampdown on journalists and public dissent.

Muratov has been extremely critical of Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the current war that has displaced 5 million Ukrainians. Being an independent journalist in Russia, he has been scrutinized by the Kremlin. And ever since Putin came into power, nearly two dozen journalists have been killed, including at least four who worked for Muratov's newspaper.



 

 

The journalist had previously announced his intentions of donating the $500,000 cash prize that came with the award to charity. Muratov then came up with the idea of auctioning off his prize as well as he believes that the donation "is to give the children refugees a chance for a future."

Muratov noted that the proceeds from the auction will directly go towards assisting UNICEF in its efforts to help children who have tragically been displaced by the war in Ukraine. During an interview with The Associated Press, Muratov expressed his concern for children who have been orphaned due to the conflict in Ukraine. 

"We want to return their future. It has to become a beginning of a flash mob as an example to follow so people auction their valuable possessions to help Ukrainians," shared Muratov in a video released by Heritage Auctions, a company that is handling the sale.



 

In light of the important international sanctions levied against Russia, he noted that these steps should not prevent humanitarian aid, including medicine for rare diseases and bone marrow transplants, from reaching residents who are in need. 

Muratov's decision to part with his Nobel prize has been applauded by many, including Joshua Benesh, the chief strategy officer for Heritage Auctions, which will not be taking any share of the proceeds. "It’s a very bespoke deal. Not everyone in the world has a Nobel Prize to auction and not every day of the week that there’s a Nobel Prize crossing the auction block," he said. 

"It’s such a unique item being sold under unique circumstances ... a significant act of generosity, and such a significant humanitarian crisis," added Benesh. "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."

Cover image source: Getty | Photo by Per Ole Hagen

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