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Russian auctions Nobel Peace Prize medal – and raises £84m for Ukrainian refugees

Russian journalist, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Journalism, sold his medal and donated the money the Ukrainian refugee children.

Dmitry Muratov was the editor of Russian Novaya Gazeta, a newspaper that is fiercely critical about the Kremlin. He was awarded the prize with Maria Ressa, a fellow journalist from the Philippines.

His medal was up for auction on Monday, World Refugee Day. It sold for a staggering sum.

The previous highest price paid for a Nobel Prize Medal was $4.76million (PS3.83m in 2014). This was when James Watson, who co-discovered the structure of DNA, received a Nobel Prize in 1962.

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The entire purchase price of this medal will go to UNICEF‘s humanitarian response to Ukraine’s displaced kids, Heritage Auctions stated in a statement.

The award was presented to Mr Muratov in October 2021. He was the founder of Novaya Gazeta, and was also the editor-in-chief of the publication when it was shut down in March. This was in response to the Kremlin’s crackdown on journalists following Russia’s invasion Ukraine.

Muratov had already declared that he would donate the PS407,000 cash award to charity to help him decide if he wanted to auction his prize.

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He explained that the idea behind the donation was to “give the children refugees a chance at a better future.”

Image The 23 carat gold medal Pic AP

The 175g of 23-carat Gold contained in Mr Muratov’s medal is worth approximately PS8,000 if it were to be melted down.

He stated that he hoped the sale would be “become an example for others to follow, so that people can auction their valuable possessions in order to help Ukrainians.”

He also stated that international sanctions against Russia do not stop humanitarian aid such as medicine for rare conditions and bone marrow transplants from reaching those who need it.

Image According to the UN, around 8 million people were forced to flee Ukraine, many of which were children

Maria Ressa and Mr Muratov, each of whom received their medals, were honored for fighting for free speech in their countries despite being subject to harassment, threats and even death threats.

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More than 8,000,000 people have been displaced by conflict

All the latest developments and updates in the Ukraine war

Muratov has been critical of Russia’s 2014 annexe of Crimea. He also condemned the February war that saw nearly five million Ukrainians flee to other countries to escape danger. This has created the worst humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II.

Russia’s independent journalists have been subject to scrutiny and even threatened by the Kremlin.

Nearly two dozen journalists were killed since Putin’s rise to power over two decades ago. At least four of them had been working for Muratov.

Muratov claimed that he was attacked by red paint aboard a Russian train in April.

Nearly 1,000 Nobel Prize recipients have received the Nobel Prizes since its inception in 1901. They are awarded for outstanding achievements in physics and chemistry, medicine, literature, and the advancement or peace.

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