Some 103.5 million dollars (98.2 million euros). This is the record sum paid by a buyer, Monday, June 20, to win the medal of the Nobel Peace Prize 2021, Dmitri Muratov, auctioned in New York. At the beginning of June, the Russian journalist, tireless editor-in-chief of Novaïa Gazeta, had announced its intention to part with its reward to help children victims of the war in Ukraine. Present in the room of the Times Center, in Manhattan, where the event was held, the latter will undoubtedly have been the first surprised to see the sale, also organized online by the American company Heritage Auctions, racing for about twenty minutes. after starting.
While the bids had already climbed to more than 16 million dollars, the buyer, who wished to remain anonymous, put an end to the suspense by offering, on the telephone, 103.5 million dollars. It will have been necessary to make repeat, with the platform, the figure to be sure to have understood correctly. Enough to smash the previous record, set in 2014 by American geneticist James Watson, winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1962, who parted with his medal for 4.8 million dollars. The sum collected on Monday is intended for Unicef, which estimates that 5.2 million Ukrainian children are in need of humanitarian aid.
Novaïa Gazeta, an independent media co-founded by Mr. Muratov in 1993, is famous for its investigations into corruption and human rights violations in Russia. In 2021, this work, which cost the lives of six of his reporters including Anna Politkovskaïa, assassinated in 2006, earned Mr. Muratov the Nobel Peace Prize, shared with his Filipino colleague, Maria Ressa. At the end of March, a few weeks after the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine and following the hardening of the Kremlin against the dissonant voices, Novaïa Gazeta suspended its print and digital publications in Russia. Since then, part of the editorial staff has gone into exile and created Novaïa Gazeta. Europe. In May, Mr Muratov was also honored by the magazine Time, who named him one of the 100 most influential people of 2022.
Mr Muratov says he was inspired by Danish physicist Niels Bohr, who gave up his medal in 1940 to help the Finnish war effort after the Soviet invasion. In a video posted on YouTube on Monday, the journalist, who had already announced that he would donate the $500,000 accompanying the reward, explained that he had not “never felt so helpless” than since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. “Within the editorial staff of Novaïa Gazeta (…), we understood that to help the victims of this war, we can and we must give what is most precious and important to us, he underlines, calling to follow him in his approach. Everyone has something we care about. Heritage Auctions will help you sell them (…) to help refugees and children affected by hostilities in Ukraine. »