Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov auctions Nobel medal for $103m

By George Wright
BBC News

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Media caption,

Watch: Applause as Nobel Peace Prize medal sells at auction for $103.5m (£84m)

The Russian editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta has auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize medal for $103.5m (£84m).

Dmitry Muratov said all the money from the sale would go to help refugees from the war in Ukraine.

Muratov was co-awarded the peace prize in 2021 for defending freedom of expression in Russia.

Novaya Gazeta suspended its operations in March, shortly after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

This came after Moscow said anyone who described Russia's actions in Ukraine as a "war" would face heavy fines or closures. The Kremlin calls the conflict a "special military operation".

Heritage Auctions, which conducted the sale, has not revealed who the winning bidder was.

In April, Muratov was attacked with red paint laced with the solvent acetone aboard a train in Russia. The male attacker shouted, "Muratov, this is for our boys," he said.

Image source, DMITRY MURATOV
Image caption,
In April, Muratov was attacked on a train that was due to depart Moscow to the city of Samara

He was among a group of journalists who founded Novaya Gazeta in 1993 after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Since 2000, six journalists from the newspaper and collaborators have been killed in connection with their work, including investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya.

The sale of the gold medal in New York will benefit Unicef's humanitarian response for Ukraine's displaced children, Heritage Auctions said in a statement.

"The most important message today is for people to understand that there's a war going on and we need to help people who are suffering the most," Muratov said in a video released by Heritage Auctions.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize last year along with journalist Maria Ressa who co-founded the online news site Rappler in the Philippines.

Ressa and Muratov are both known for publishing investigations that have angered the leaders of their countries, and have become symbols of the fight for press freedom.

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Watch as Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov liken winning the Nobel Peace Prize to The Scream.