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” I laugh. I was not expecting it at all. It’s madness here. I saw a call from Norway, but thought it was an unwanted call ” : this is how Dmitri Muratov, one of the founders of the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, reacted, in an interview with the edition Podiom, to the information that he had been awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.
On October 8, 2021, the Nobel Committee, based in Oslo, announced that Dmitry Muratov was one of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Before that, the only Russians to win this award were human rights activist Andrei Sakharov and the first president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev.
Dmitry Muratov was born on October 30, 1961 in Kouïbychev (old name of Samara, which is 2,500 km from Moscow). In 1983, he graduated from the Faculty of Philology of Kuybyshev State University with his diploma. After serving in the army, he got his first job at the newspaper Voljski Komsomolets, before being hired by the large-circulation daily Komsomolskaya Pravda.
In November 1992, he left Komsomolskaya Pravda and becomes co-founder of the Sixième niveau association. It included journalists who disagreed with the editorial policy of this edition. This partnership resulted in the creation of the daily Novaya, which was later renamed Novaya Gazeta.
In 1993, Dmitry Muratov wrote a column in the newspaper entitled Rating of the lie, listing high-profile episodes in which officials openly lied. At the end of each month, the newspaper identified the “biggest liar”. At the same time, Dmitry Muratov joined the editorial board of the publication and became its deputy editor.
From December 1994 to January 1995, Dmitri Muratov was special envoy of Novaya in the combat zone during the First Chechen War. In February 1993, he became editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, position he occupies to this day.
For years, the newspaper has published under his direction critical articles on corruption, illegal arrests, electoral fraud, police violence and other sensitive political and social topics in the country.
Anna Politkovskaya, who wrote about the war in Chechnya and regularly criticized the authorities, worked for Novaya Gazeta. She was shot in the elevator of her apartment building on October 7, 2006. The investigation has identified and convicted the organizer and the perpetrators of the murder, but the sponsors are still running. Politkovskaya’s murder is considered to be linked to his activities as a journalist and human rights defender. Journalists from Novaya Gazeta, under Muratov’s leadership, are carrying out their own investigation to establish who ordered the assassination.
“We don’t have a single perspective on who ordered this murder. In the editorial staff, several people dealt in detail with the Politkovskaya tragedy. […] We have repeatedly asked to continue the case to determine the mastermind of the murder. October 7  will mark 15 years from the date of the murder, and that is the statute of limitations. In other words, maybe one day they will find the sponsor, but he has no chance of ending up in the hole. We want to obtain an extension of the limitation period in this case in order to continue the hunt for criminals ”, said Dmitry Muratov on the investigation into the murder of Politkovskaya in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda.
In addition to Politkovskaya, five other journalists from Novaya Gazeta were killed and several employees survived assassination attempts. In a column published after receiving the Nobel Prize, Muratov wrote that it was they who deserved the prize, not him.
An issue of Novaïa Gazeta
In addition, journalists from Novaya Gazeta have won more than 60 awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.
“Despite the murders and threats, editor-in-chief Muratov refused to abandon the newspaper’s policy of independence. He has always defended the right of journalists to write what they want about what they want, as long as they respect the professional and ethical standards of journalism “, said President of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee Berit Reiss-Andersen.
Muratov transfer account part of the prize (approximately $ 1.14 million) to the Circle of Kindness foundation, which helps children with serious and rare diseases.
The Kremlin also congratulated Muratov on his award.
“We can congratulate Dmitry Muratov. He works tirelessly in accordance with his ideals, he is attached to his ideals. He is talented, courageous ”,said Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov at a press briefing.
Mikhail Dzhaparidze / TASS
Muratov, in a commentary on his award, drew attention to the fact that today in Russia a number of publications and journalists are recognized as foreign agents, and due to this status they were losing advertisers, some of them having to go out of business.
“Here is what I can say: we will brandish this award in the name of Russian journalism, which we are currently seeking to suppress. That’s all. We will try to help people who are now recognized as agents, who are harassed, who are expelled from the country ”,said Muratov.
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Who is Dmitry Muratov, Russian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate?