- Dmitry Muratov auctioned off the 18-carat gold medal he got for the Nobel Peace Prize on Monday.
- All the money from the auction will go to UNICEF to help Ukrainian refugees.
- Muratov, editor of the independent Novaya Gazeta, was awarded the prize for defending freedom of expression.
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A Russian journalist auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize medal for $103.5 million to raise money for Ukrainian refugees.
Dmitry Muratov sold his gold medal in an auction held in New York City on Monday, which was also World Refugee Day. Muratov, the editor-in-chief of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, won the prize last October for safeguarding freedom of expression.
The medal is made of 18 carats of recycled gold, according to the Nobel Prize’s website.
All the money raised in the auction will go directly to UNICEF to help its Ukraine refugee operations, Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale, said in a statement. It did not say who the winning bidder was.
“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 after the auction, the Associated Press reported.
Olav Njølstad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, told Insider that the Norwegian Nobel Committee was told in advance of Muratov’s plan to auction off his medal, and that it “assured him that it fully supported his decision to donating the proceeds to Ukrainian child refugees.”
Muratov was among a group of journalists who founded Novaya Gazeta in 1993 after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The independent newspaper, which was published weekly, is known for its critical and investigative coverage of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime.
Muratov was highly critical of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and invasion of Ukraine this February. The war in Ukraine is entering its fifth month.
The Kremlin intensified its crackdown on the media and various forms of dissent shortly after the invasion, forcing Novaya Gazeta to suspend its print and online operations. However, it relaunched another version, called Novaya Gazeta Europa, from Latvia a few weeks later.
It is not clear where Muratov currently lives, though the AP reported he had traveled from Russia to New York last week for the auction.
In April, he was attacked with red paint laced with the solvent acetone while on a train from Moscow to the Russian city of Samara.
The unknown male attacker shouted: “Muratov, this is for our boys,” in an apparent reference to Russian troops fighting in Ukraine, the BBC reported.