Russian Journalist Auctions Nobel Peace Prize for $103.5 Million to Support Ukrainian Children

‘I feel responsible for what my country is doing,’ Dmitry Muratov says

Russian's Nobel Medal Sells for Record $103.5 Million at Auction
Russian's Nobel Medal Sells for Record $103.5 Million at Auction
Russian's Nobel Medal Sells for Record $103.5 Million at AuctionPlay video: Russian's Nobel Medal Sells for Record $103.5 Million at Auction
Russian journalist and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov auctioned off his 23-karat gold medal for $103.5 million to support the humanitarian response to the war in Ukraine. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Associated Press

A Russian journalist auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize medal, donating the $103.5 million raised to help Ukrainian refugees.

Dmitry Muratov, editor in chief of the Russian Novaya Gazeta newspaper that he helped to found in 1993, was awarded the 2021 prize for his “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.” He donated the $500,000 cash award to charity.

The medal, which was bought by an unidentified phone bidder, was put up for sale by U.S. auction house Heritage Auctions, which said that 100% of the proceeds would go directly to support Unicef’s humanitarian response to the war in Ukraine.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov with his gold medal before it was auctioned in New York on Monday.


“I think it is important to me because I’m a Russian citizen and Russia has invaded Ukraine, and I feel responsible for what my country is doing,” Mr. Muratov said following the auction.

He said he hoped the sale would encourage others to auction valuable possessions to support the Ukrainian people. “It has to become a beginning of a flashmob as an example to follow so people auction their valuable possessions to help Ukrainians,” he said in a video released by Heritage Auctions.

Novaya Gazeta, which the Nobel committee described as the most independent newspaper operating in Russia, suspended publishing in March after a series of warnings threatening legal action from Russia’s state media regulator, Roskomnadzor. The paper had previously stopped publishing articles about the Russian invasion of Ukraine because of censorship. Articles in the paper, which often covered sensitive topics ranging from corruption and police violence to electoral fraud and internet manipulation, typically signed off with an editorial statement saying, “Our journalists aren’t afraid to mine the truth in order to show it to you.”

A law in Russia makes it a crime to refer to Russia’s military moves in Ukraine as an invasion or war and forbids citing Russian casualty figures from any source other than the country’s Defense Ministry. People convicted of violating the law can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

Dmitry Muratov, with a beard, celebrates after his Nobel medal was auctioned off on Monday, raising $103.5 million to help Ukrainian refugees.


Since the newspaper’s launch, six of Novaya Gazeta’s journalists have been killed. When Mr. Muratov heard that he had won the Nobel Peace Prize last October, he dedicated the prize to his slain colleagues and to the newspaper. He shares the prizewhich comes with a $1 million cash awardwith another journalist, Maria Ressa, of the Philippines, who exposed abuses of power in her country.

More than seven million people—many of them children—have fled the war in Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin began his onslaught on the country on Feb. 24, according to the U.N.’s refugee agency, which says one third of the Ukrainian population have been forced from their homes by the war.

Write to Gareth Vipers at