Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of the influential Russian news outlet Novaya Gazeta, will auction his 2021 Nobel Peace Prize medal on June 20 through Heritage Auctions to benefit children and their families forced to flee Ukraine and those internally displaced since the start of the war in February. All proceeds will support UNICEF’s humanitarian response for children in Ukraine and neighboring countries.
Bidding on the medal is open now, and it will conclude with a live auction at The Times Center in Manhattan on World Refugee Day, June 20, a day to commemorate the strength, courage, and perseverance of refugees.
“The editors of Novaya Gazeta decided it was necessary to help those in desperate need,” says Muratov, who in 1993 co-founded the Moscow-based publication that is now the last independent newspaper in Russia. “Everyone understood that we had to help, and the sale of the Nobel medal through Heritage Auctions gave us a powerful opportunity to help Ukrainian refugees. We hope that everyone around the world supports us and contributes to this movement, however they can.”
Muratov shared the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize with Filipino journalist Maria Ressa. The Norwegian Nobel Committee celebrated their “fight for freedom of expression in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.”
In late March 2022, Muratov was forced to suspend the publication of Novaya Gazeta after receiving a second warning from the government agency charged with monitoring Russian news media. Muratov was subsequently attacked when an assailant splashed him with what The Washington Post described as “a mixture of red paint and acetone, leaving his eyes with a chemical burn.”
This week, Muratov was named one of TIME100’s Most Influential People of 2022.
Muratov announced on March 22 that he intended to auction his medal with all proceeds going to support humanitarian relief efforts for Ukrainian child refugees and their families, no matter where they are, prompted by the sight of “the wounded and children who need urgent treatment.”
He cited the precedent made by physicist Niels Bohr, who in 1940 sold his Nobel Prize in Physics medal to benefit Finnish relief.
Following his announcement, Muratov elected to sell the medal through Heritage Auctions, which completed the sale of Frances Crick’s Nobel Prize medal in 2017 in an auction that fetched $2.27 million USD. All proceeds, including commissions and administrative fees from the June 20 sale, will be directed to UNICEF.
“A Nobel Prize gives you an important world stage and microphone,” Muratov says. “It doesn’t guarantee you safety, but it allows you to be heard. The message we must convey is that there is a war going on, and we need to help those who are suffering most right now.”
UNHCR estimates that more than 6.6 million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries, while more than eight million remain displaced in their war-torn country.
“The effort to help those directly affected by this conflict is a worldwide appeal,” says Jim Halperin, Heritage Auctions’ Co-Chairman. “Our role is to support courageous leaders such as Dmitry Muratov and his colleagues as they find inventive tactics for bringing relief to children hurt by this war.”
The Norwegian Nobel Institute enthusiastically supports the auctioning of Muratov’s medal to assist in UNICEF’s ongoing efforts. In a letter of support, Director Olav Njølstad said, “This generous act of humanitarianism is very much in the spirit of Alfred Nobel. The intended sale is therefore subject to the wholehearted approval of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.”
In addition to the auction of the Nobel Peace Prize medal, those who wish to support UNICEF’s efforts may donate directly to help Ukraine’s children at www.unicefusa.org/nobelpeaceprize.