Dimitry Muratov is one of the last representatives of independent journalism in Russia, known for investigating the government’s bad policies. Muratov, whose founder and editor-in-chief Novaya Gazeta (New Newspaper) was shut down, was awarded the world’s most prestigious peace prize, the 2021 Nobel Prize, along with Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, for his “efforts to protect freedom of expression”
Despite Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s increasing pressure on the media, Novaya has not compromised its independence. Under Muratov’s leadership, the paper has reported on human rights abuses, corruption, election fraud, police brutality and many other investigative journalism stories. It played a role in the publication of the Panama Papers.
The government has targeted the paper. In the 2000s, six Novaya Gazeta journalists lost their lives in attacks. Muratov, who was seen as the face of the paper, also received threats. He was attacked on a train with red paint mixed with acetone. But at every opportunity he spoke out in favour of a free press.
HE SOLD HIS NOBEL PRIZE FOR UKRAINIAN REFUGEES
When the Kremlin called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a
“military operation”, media outlets that used the word “war” began to lock their doors. Novaya Gazeta, unable to withstand the pressure, suspended its operations in March 2022. Shortly after the occupation, Novaya Gazeta also stopped publishing.
At every opportunity, Muratov says that the silencing of critical media in Russia is part of the Putin government’s efforts to hide its failures from the public.
Last year, the intrepid journalist auctioned his 2021 Nobel Peace Prize medal to benefit Ukrainian refugee children. The medal sold for $103.5 million, breaking the record for similar prizes previously put up for sale.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and exiled journalist Dimitry Muratov talks to journalists, including the editors of the Journalist Post, about what is happening in Russia.
As a Nobel laureate, I have officially asked the International Committee of the Red Cross to help Alexei Navalny, the leader of the Russian opposition. He is not only in prison, he is a prisoner in a prison within a prison. This is a place where people are turned into living corpses. But the Red Cross said they could not intervene. When I made this request, the head of the Red Cross was in a meeting in the office of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.
I get a lot of questions about the Russian legal system. This is one of the consequences of what is called a special military operation. This is the dismantling of the judiciary. Special military operations are taking place, but the consequences are already clear.
Ukraine and Russia will never be together in the future. They will never be brothers. There is a new geographical awakening in Russia. You may not have heard of it. Russia is no longer Europe. The window to Europe is closed and even bars have been put on the door.
The Russian Orthodox Church supported the special military operation and launched propaganda of death. A priest was dismissed for replacing the word ‘victory’ with the word ‘peace’ during a church service.
Russia “ “Give me a chance to be a mother”
Lilia Chanysheva, a 40-year-old woman. She has never killed anyone, never stolen, never committed vi- violence.
She expressed: “If I am sentenced, I will not have time to have children, allow me to become a mother”.
The judge didn’t give her that chance. She was sentenced to 7.5 years imprisonment. Cruelty also manifests itself in patriotism.
Noting that being a dissident in Russia is considered grounds for punishment, Muratov describes what has happened to some dissidents as follows: “Lilia Chanysheva, a 40-year-old woman. She worked for Alexei Navalny. She did not kill anyone, did not steal, did not use violence. She was just a civil activist. Have you ever seen people go crazy waiting for their loved ones? This woman waits for her husband every day with flowers. Lilia didn’t say a word about herself, but she said: “If I’m sentenced, I won’t have time to have children, give me the chance to be a mother. The judge didn’t give her that chance. She was sentenced to 7.5 years imprisonment. Cruelty also manifests itself in patriotism. That’s why evil has become terrorism.
The Russian Orthodox Church supported the special military operation and launched propaganda of death. A priest was deposed for replacing the word ‘victory’ with the word ‘peace’ during a church service.
Take Ivan Gorshkovich, for example. He is the Moscow correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, a journalist. He is very well known in Moscow. He loves the country he works for. He’s a very successful journalist and certainly not a spy. He was put behind bars for espionage. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
The politician Vladimir Kara-Murza is a famous writer. You may remember the Magnitsky case, a symbol of the fight against corruption in Russia. Magnitsky was found to have 280 million dollars missing. This news was revealed by Kara-Murza. Ka- ra-Murza, a journalist, writer, and filmmaker, is now a political prisoner, sentenced to 25 years. In one year she has lost 25 kilos. She has not been allowed to make a single phone call to her three children.
There has been no official anti-Semitic propaganda in Russia for 20 years. No one can accuse Putin of being an anti-Semite. But neo-Nazis are in the political arena of today’s Russia. Today’s arrests and violations may seem fewer than in the past.
JUNTA OR FREEDOM?
Muratov, who says the older generation supports Putin, continues: “We have a struggle for the future. There is a struggle to redefine society in Russia. Will the junta win or the people who want freedom? The junta’s agenda has been formulated by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a billionaire owner of the Wagner private military company, who has openly stated in the past: ‘We have built enough bridges and theatres. Everyone in Russia should now work on defense. Russia should be like North Korea for a while. We need a general mobilization. We must close the borders.
This is the program of a military junta that will take place before the current president is deposed. The older generation in particular supports Vladimir Putin. The older generation is his base. Lonely and abandoned old people. They want to feel young again and contribute to their country.
Lilia Khanysheva, a 40-year-old woman. She has never killed anyone, never stolen, never committed violence. “If I am sentenced, I will not have time to have children, give me a chance to become a mother,” she said. The judge didn’t give her that chance. She was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison. Cruelty also manifests itself in patriotism.
THE YOUNG GENERATION IS LEAVING
There is now a whole generation missing in Russia. The generation born after Mikhail Gorbachev is unwilling to sacrifice itself for its homeland. The younger generation will build the future. But many have left the country for good. Almost 1 million people are rebuilding their lives outside Russia. Young people do not want to kill and be killed. I believe that protecting this generation is important not only for Russia but for all of us.
50 MILLION REFUGEES ON THE WAY
I’m not a scientist, I don’t do horoscopes. 50.5 million refugees are on the move. One after the other. 5.5 million Ukrainian children need help. We have to exchange prisoners of war, we have to help refugees.
We need to support UNICEF so that Ukrainian children can return to their families and their homes. The number of orphans and widows must not increase. Russian television shows hundreds of reports a week on the use of nuclear weapons. But will Putin press the button? We don’t know. As one soldier said, “Can we meet at 6 o’clock after the war?”
JOURNALISTS ON THE FRONT SHOULD BE REWARDED
There are some great Ukrainian journalists. They made a documentary in Mariupol. They stayed there while the city was being razed to the ground. They shared the fate of the people left behind. They could have died at any moment. These are the journalists who should be rewarded. These are the documentarians who are now filming on the front line, filming the tragedy of this hell. We must support them so that we can meet at 6 o’clock at the end of the war.
PUTIN WILL NOT BE LIKE SADDAM
I will not forgive anyone. Putin will not die like Saddam Hussein. Putin will not give up the advantages of power in a country with nuclear weapons. A country is on a path of increasing militarisation. He sees nuclear weapons as a tool to transform the world from a bipolar to a multipolar world.
Nobel Prize-winning Russian journalist Dmitri Andreyevich Muratov worked as a reporter in the mid-1980s after serving in the Soviet army. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, he and his friends founded Novaya Gazeta.