In an effort to help Ukrainian children affected by Russia's offensive, Dmitry Muratov, Russian journalist, is set to auction off his Nobel Peace Prize medal, donating proceeds directly to UNICEF.
It was Muratov’s idea to auction off his prize, having already announced he was donating the accompanying $500,000 cash award to charity. The auction will take place on Monday in New York.
The idea of the donation, he said, “is to give the children refugees a chance for a future.”
Online bids began June 1 to coincide with the International Children's Day observance. Monday's live bidding falls on World Refugee Day.
As of early Monday morning, the high bid was $550,000. The purchase price is expected to spiral upward, possibly into the millions.
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.
Medal could fetch millions
The most ever paid for a Nobel Prize medal was in 2014, when James Watson, whose co-discovery of the structure of DNA earned him a Nobel Prize in 1962, sold his medal for $4.76 million.
Three years later, the family of his co-recipient, Francis Crick, received $2.27 million in bidding run by Heritage Auctions, the same company that is auctioning off Muratov's medal. Melted down, the 175 grams of 23-karat gold contained in Muratov's medal would be worth about $10,000.
Muratov, awarded the gold medal in October 2021, helped found the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta. He was the publication's editor-in-chief when it shut down in March in the wake of Russia's onslaught in Ukraine.
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.
Muratov has been highly critical of Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and the offensive launched in February that has caused nearly 5 million Ukrainians to flee to other countries for safety.
Muratov and Heritage officials said even those out of the bidding can still help by donating directly to UNICEF.By Rabiu Tajudeen