NEW YORK - Dmitry Muratov, the Russian Editor-in-Chief of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, on Tuesday auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize gold medal for a whopping $103.5 million to benefit children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

The medal was sold to an as yet unidentified phone bidder at the sale in New York organised by Heritage Auctions. The sale was a spirited one, with lots of applause and bidders egging one another on to increase the total. Muratov was seen recording videos of the bidding screen and those in the room. When the final bid came in, at tens of millions of dollars more than the previous offer, many in the room expressed shock, including Muratov himself. “I’m just like you in that regard,” he told AFP, speaking through a translator after the sale. Muratov won the prize in 2021 alongside journalist Maria Ressa of the Philippines, with the committee honouring the pair “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.” Muratov’s medal was available to bidders both in person and online, with all proceeds going to UNICEF’s Humanitarian Response for Ukrainian Children Displaced by War.

When asked why he chose UNICEF as the recipient of the funds, Muratov said: “It’s critical to us that the organization does not belong to any government. It can work above government. There are no borders for it.”