- Dmitry Muratov auctioned off the 23-karat gold medal he got for the Nobel Peace Prize on Monday.
- Muratov, editor of the independent Novaya Gazeta, was awarded the prize for defending freedom of expression.
- He said all the money from the auction will go to Ukrainian child refugees.
A Russian journalist auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize medal for $103.5 million to raise money for Ukrainian refugees, the Associated Press reported.
Dmitry Muratov sold his medal, which is made of 23-karat gold, in an auction held in New York City on Monday, which was also World Refugee Day, the AP reported. Muratov is the editor-in-chief of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
All the money will go directly to UNICEF to help child refugees from Ukraine, the AP reported.
Muratov won the Nobel Peace Prize last October alongside the Filipina journalist Maria Ressa, who co-founded the critical news site Rappler.
“I was hoping that there was going to be an enormous amount of solidarity, but I was not expecting this to be such a huge amount,” Muratov said after the bidding, the AP reported.
Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale, did not reveal who the winning bidder was.
Muratov was among a group of journalists who founded Novaya Gazeta in 1993 after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The independent newspaper, which was published weekly, is known for its critical and investigative coverage of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime.
Muratov was highly critical of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and invasion of Ukraine this February. The war in Ukraine is entering its fifth month.
The Kremlin intensified its crackdown on the media and various forms of dissent shortly after the invasion, forcing Novaya Gazeta to suspend its print and online operations. However, it relaunched another version, called Novaya Gazeta Europa, from Latvia a few weeks later.
It is not clear where Muratov currently lives, though the AP reported he had traveled from Russia to New York last week for the auction.
In April, he was attacked with red paint laced with the solvent acetone while on a train from Moscow to the Russian city of Samara.
The unknown male attacker shouted: “Muratov, this is for our boys,” in an apparent reference to Russian troops fighting in Ukraine, the BBC reported.