Dmitry Muratov’s Nobel Peace Prize medal sold at auction for 98 million euros

Politics 21 June, 2022

About 103.5 million dollars (98.2 million euros). This is a record amount paid by the buyer on Monday, June 20, for Dmitry Muratov’s 2021 Nobel Peace Prize medal, auctioned in New York. In early June, a Russian journalist, the indefatigable editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, announced his intention to part with his award in order to help child victims of the war in Ukraine.

Being present at the Times Center in Manhattan, where the event was held, Muratov was undoubtedly the first who was surprised to see the sale, also organized online by the American company Heritage Auctions, which lasted about twenty minutes after the start.

While the bids have already exceeded $16 million, the buyer, who wished to remain anonymous, put an end to the uncertainty by offering $103.5 million over the phone. This was enough to break the previous record set in 2014 by the American geneticist James Watson, winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1962, who parted with his medal for $ 4.8 million. The amount collected on Monday is intended for UNICEF, according to which 5.2 million Ukrainian children need humanitarian assistance.

Novaya Gazeta, an independent media outlet co-founded by Mr. Muratov in 1993, is known for its investigations of corruption and human rights violations in Russia. In 2021, this work, which claimed the lives of six of his reporters, including Anna Politkovskaya, who was killed in 2006, earned Mr. Muratov the Nobel Peace Prize, which he shared with his Filipino colleague Maria Ressa. At the end of March, a few weeks after the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine and the Kremlin’s tightening against voices that disagree with it, Novaya Gazeta suspended its print and electronic publications in Russia. Since then, part of the editorial staff has gone into exile and created a « Novaya Gazeta. Europe». In May, Mr. Muratov was also honored by Time magazine, which named him one of the 100 most influential people of 2022.

Mr. Muratov says he was inspired by the Danish physicist Niels Bohr, who gave up his medal in 1940 to help the Finnish war effort after the Soviet invasion. In a video posted on YouTube on Monday, the journalist, who has already announced that he will donate $500,000 accompanying the award, explained that he «has never felt so helpless» as since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. «In the editorial office of Novaya Gazeta (…), we realized that in order to help the victims of this war, we can and must give the most precious and important thing for us, – he emphasizes, urging us to follow him in his approach. – Everyone has something we care about. Heritage auctions will help you sell them (…) to help refugees and children affected by the fighting in Ukraine».