Russian Nobel laureate auctions off medal to benefit Ukrainian children

December 2021

Dmitri Muratov with his award.

(Photo: imago images/ITAR-TASS)

new York Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov’s Nobel Peace Prize medal fetched $103.5 million (around €98.5 million) at auction, shattering all previous records. The proceeds from the auction in New York on Monday evening (local time) are intended to benefit Ukrainian children displaced by Russia’s war of aggression. Muratow had already announced that he would also donate his Nobel Prize money, equivalent to more than 470,000 euros, to a good cause.

Never before has a Nobel Prize medal been auctioned for such a high sum. The record was previously held by molecular biologist James Watson, who was honored in 1962 for his role in discovering the structure of DNA: his medal went under the hammer in 2014 for $4.76 million. Three years later, the family of physicist and molecular biologist Francis Crick, who was honored with Watson, received $2.27 million for the sale of Crick’s medal.

Muratov received the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2021 in recognition of his commitment to protecting freedom of expression. He is a co-founder of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

The newspaper was shut down in March because the Russian government once again severely restricted the work of critical journalists following its invasion of Ukraine.

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Muratov told the AP news agency in an interview that he was particularly concerned about children who had become orphans because of the war. “We want to give them their future back.”

Muratov has strongly criticized Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and the current Russian war in Ukraine. The auction should serve as an inspiration “so that people will auction off their valuable possessions to help Ukrainians,” Muratov said in a video published by the responsible auction house Heritage Auctions.

From Monday afternoon (local time), bids for the medal could be submitted in real time. It has been possible to submit bids on the Internet since June 1st. The Nobel Peace Prize medal consists of 175 grams of gold. If these were melted down, they would be worth around $10,000. The UN children’s charity Unicef ​​is to receive the record proceeds from the sale of the medal.

More: You can follow the current developments in the Ukraine war in our news blog

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