Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov sold his Nobel Prize for a whopping $103.5 million to help the displaced Ukrainian children, on Monday.
The amount will go to the UNICEF’s child refugee fund, said Heritage Auctions in a statement. “I was hoping that there was going to be an enormous amount of solidarity,” Muratov said after the sale. “But I was not expecting this to be such a huge amount.” His medal was auctioned on World Refugee Day.
The sale of the Nobel Prize has made a record. Previously, the most ever paid Nobel Prize was in 2014, when James Watson, whose co-discovery of the structure of DNA in 1962 earned him the medal. His medal was sold for $4.76m.
Muratov is the editor of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta. He has condemned the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine.
“The most important message today is for people to understand that there is a war going on and we need to help people who are suffering the most,” he said.
Read more: Russia Ukraine Crisis: Why Russia?
Dmitry Muratov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Filipino journalist Maria Ressa for promoting independent reporting in the face of growing authoritarianism.
It was Muratov’s idea to auction off his medal after having already pleaged to donate $ $500,000 cash award to charity. The idea of the donation is to give “children refugees a chance for a future.”
When asked about why he chose UNICEF to donate the funds, he said: “It’s critical to us that that organization does not belong to any government. It can work above the government. There are no borders for it.”
He believes international sanctions against Russia should not impede humanitarian aid such as medicine for rare diseases. “It has to become a beginning of a flashmob as an example to follow so people auction their valuable possessions to help Ukrainians,” Muratov said.