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Russian Nobel Prize raises $149 million for Ukraine

by Anthony L. Gonzalez

A Nobel Peace Prize auctioned by Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov to raise money for Ukrainian refugee children has sold for a record $103.5 million ($149 million).

Previously, the most paid-for Nobel Prize medal came in 2014, when James Watson — whose co-discovery of the structure of DNA earned him a Nobel Prize in 1962 — sold his award for $4.76 million ($6.86 million).

Three years later, the family of his co-recipient, Francis Crick, received a $2.27 million bid from Heritage Auctions, the same company that sold Muratov’s medal on Monday, World Refugee Day.Russian Nobel Prize raises $149 million for Ukraine

Muratov, who received the gold medal in October 2021, helped found the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and served as editor-in-chief of the publication when it was closed in March amid the Kremlin’s crackdown on journalists and public dissent in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It was Muratov’s idea to auction his prize, having already announced that he would donate the corresponding $500,000 cash prize to charity.

The idea of ​​the donation, he said, “is to give the refugee children a chance at a future”.

Muratov has said the proceeds will go directly to UNICEF in its efforts to help children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

Remelted, the 175 grams of 23-karat gold in Muratov’s medal would be worth about $10,000 ($14,403).

Muratov told The Associated Press it was important that international sanctions against Russia did not prevent humanitarian aid, such as medicines for rare diseases and bone marrow transplants, from reaching those in need.

“It should be the start of a flash mob as an example to follow so that people auction off their valuables to help Ukrainians,” Muratov said in a video released by Heritage Auctions, which arranged the sale but did not receive a share of the proceeds. Takes itself. †

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

The two journalists, who each received their own medal, were honored for their fight to preserve free speech in their respective countries, despite being attacked by intimidation, their governments, and even death threats.

Muratov was highly critical of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and the February war that caused nearly five million Ukrainians to flee to other countries for safety, sparking the biggest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II.

Independent journalists in Russia have come under scrutiny from the Kremlin if not outright targets of the government.

Since Mr. Putin came to power more than 20 years ago, nearly two dozen journalists have been murdered. Among them are at least four who had worked for Muratov’s newspaper.

As of early Monday, the highest bid for the Nobel medal was 550,000 dollars ($792,147). The purchase price was expected to increase, but perhaps no more than $100 million ($144 million).

Since its founding in 1901, nearly 1,000 Nobel Prizes have been received for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and the promotion of peace.

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