Russian Journalist Auctions Nobel Peace Prize Medal For Ukrainian Children
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On Monday night, the Nobel Peace Prize was auctioned off by Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov to raise money for Ukrainian child refugees.

It was sold for $103.5m, which broke the old record for the prize.

According to The Associated Press, a spokesperson for Heritage Auctions which managed the sale couldn’t confirm the identity of the buyer but said that the winning bid was made by proxy.

The $103.5m sale is $100 million Swiss francs, which indicates that the buyer is from abroad.

In an interview following the nearly three-week auction, which ended on World Refugee Day, Muratov said he hoped that there would be “an enormous amount of solidarity” but was not anticipating it to be “such a huge amount.”

In 2014, the most that were ever paid for a Nobel Prize insignia was $4.76m. It was awarded to James Watson in 1962 for his co-discovery of the structure of DNA, and he sold his.

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In 2013, the family of his co-recipient, Francis Crick, received $2.27m in bidding, which Heritage Auctions also managed.

Muratov received the gilded medal in October 2021 and helped found the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

He was the publication’s editor-in-chief when it was shut down in March amid the Kremlin’s crackdown on journalists and public dissent at the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Muratov decoded to auction off his prize and announced that he was donating the accompanying $500,000 cash award to charity.

Muratov noted that the proceeds would go directly to UNICEF to help children who have been displaced by the war in Ukraine.

And just minutes after the bidding concluded, UNICEF told the auction house it had already received the money.

Many bids had come in online or by telephone. The winning bid was by telephone and propelled the bidding from low millions and catapulted the bidding from the low millions to mighty heights.

Earlier on Monday, the highest bid was only $550,000. But the purchase price was expected to increase, just not over $100m.

Joshua Benesh, the chief strategy officer for Heritage Auctions, said he was “awestruck” and “flabbergasted” by the turnout.

“We knew that there was a tremendous groundswell of interest in the last couple of days by people who were moved by Dimitry’s story, by Dimitry’s act of generosity, that the global audience was listening tonight,” he said.

Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Dmitry MuratovGetty

Both Muratov and Heritage officials also noted that those out of the bidding can still aid the situation by donating directly to UNICEF.

Muratov shared the Nobel Peace Prize last year with fellow journalist Maria Ressa of the Philippines.

The journalists each received their own medals and were honoured for their quest to preserve the right to free speech in their respective countries, despite the ridicule, harassment, and death threats they faced.

If melted down, the 175 grams of 23-karat gold in Muratov’s medal would be worth around $10,000.

Muratov was immensely critical of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and the war launched in February.

The war caused nearly 5 million Ukrainians to flee to other places in the world for safety, creating the biggest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II.

Independent journalists in Russia have faced scrutiny from the Kremlin. And since Putin came into power over two decades ago, close to two dozen journalists have been killed, including at least four who worked for Muratov’s paper.

In April, Muratov said he was attacked with red paint while on a Russian train which caused discomfort to his eyes.

The Novel Peace Prize, which was created in 1901, has been awarded to nearly 1,000 recipients for achievements in chemistry.

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