NEW YORK (AP) – What’s the price of peace?
That question was partially answered yesterday night when Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize medal. The proceeds will go directly to UNICEF in its efforts to help children displaced by the war in Ukraine.
Muratov, awarded the gold medal in October 2021, helped found the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and was the publication’s editor-in-chief when it shut down in March amid the Kremlin’s clampdown on journalists and public dissent in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
It was Muratov’s idea to auction off his prize, having already announced he was donating the accompanying USD500,000 cash award to charity. The idea of the donation, he said, “is to give the children refugees a chance for a future.”
In an interview with The Associated Press, Muratov said he was particularly concerned about children who have been orphaned because of the conflict in Ukraine. “We want to return their future,” he said.
He added that it’s important international sanctions levied against Russia do not prevent humanitarian aid, such as medicine for rare diseases and bone marrow transplants, from reaching those in need.
“It has to become a beginning of a flash mob as an example to follow so people auction their valuable possessions to help Ukrainians,” Muratov said in a video released by Heritage Auctions, which is handling the sale but not taking any share of the proceeds.
Muratov shared the Nobel Peace Prize last year with journalist Maria Ressa of the Philippines.
The two journalists, who each received their own medals, were honoured for their battles to preserve free speech in their respective countries, despite coming under attack by harassment, their governments and even death threats.