Who is Dmitri Murátov, the Russian who won the Nobel Peace Prize?

The Russian Dmitry Murátov, awarded today with the Nobel Peace Prize, is the patriarch of the free press in this country since the fall of the Soviet Union as director of the newspaper “Nóvaya Gazeta”, the last bastion of independent criticism of the Kremlin .

“Murátov is a great man. There can be no more worthy person in this country for a Nobel Peace Prize. No one like him has defended, promoted and developed freedom of expression in Russia,” Elena Miláshina, the most awarded reporter, told EFE. from the newspaper.

Nóvaya Gazeta Foundation

The name of Murátov, who will turn 60 on October 30, is closely linked to “Nóvaya Gazeta”, a headline that had also been nominated for the Nobel on several occasions.

Murátov headed in 1993, two years after the Soviet disintegration, the group of journalists who left the daily “Komsomólskaya Pravda” with a clear objective in mind: to make a new journalism in line with the new democratic winds that ran in the country.

To do this, they had the invaluable help of the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who bought eight computers with part of the money he received as a Nobel Peace Prize, which allowed Murátov and his colleagues to launch the first printing of a thousand copies on April 1 1993.

After working as a war correspondent in the First Chechen War, in 1995 Murátov was appointed editor of the newspaper, a position he held to this day with the exception of a two-year hiatus (2017-19).

Investigation journalism

With him in charge of the newsroom, “Nóvaya Gazeta” became the standard bearer of an investigative journalism that did not accept hostages when criticizing the authorities, be it for corruption, the repression of democratic freedoms or the abuse of human rights.

The sinking of the atomic submarine Kursk (2000) in which its 118 crew members died was one of the first clashes with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who was criticized for not suspending his vacations and for failing to settle responsibilities among the Navy’s staff. Russian.

Since then, Putin behaved, in the best of cases, “as if we did not exist,” according to sources from the newspaper told Efe.

Putin was once again the target of criticism for the controversial rescue operations after the terrorist kidnappings of the Dubrovka theater (2002) and the Beslán school (2004), which left hundreds of civilians dead.

Chechnya, a black hole for the Russian press, was one of the topics most covered by Murátov, who sent his reporters to cover the main events in the North Caucasian republic, from the two wars to the numerous cases of abuse by the military. Russians.

In the last decade, the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, untouchable by the generalist press, received much criticism from “Nóvaya Gazeta” for turning Chechnya into a kind of caliphate where the same laws as in the rest of the country did not apply.

The latest reports of the newspaper on the persecution, rape and murder of homosexuals in the republic and far from it by the Chechen security services received a great echo in the press and television around the world.

Assassination of Politkovskaya

Murátov had to face countless times in court to defend his journalists, continually threatened with death for their criticism of local authorities, especially in the Caucasus, and brought to trial for alleged defamations.

Such reporting courage cost the lives of half a dozen of its journalists and employees. The most notorious case was that of Anna Politkóvskaya, the top star of “Nóvaya Gazeta” and who was assassinated by a Chechen commando in the doorway of her home on October 7, 2006.

“The Nobel is deserved and very timely. They have awarded it when a war has been declared against freedom of expression in Russia. We have received the best weapon in our endless fight for the truth,” said Miláshina.

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Who is Dmitri Murátov, the Russian who won the Nobel Peace Prize?

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