The editor-in-chief of the independent Russian news service Novaya Gazeta, which was shut down by the Kremlin in March amid sweeping new restrictions on journalists following the invasion of Ukraine, said he and his colleagues chose the UN Children’s Fund. UNICEF as the best NGO to ensure that funds reach all Ukrainian children in need.
“This is what we need”
“UNICEF is absolutely non-toxic,” said Mr. Muratov Russian UN News Service, in an exclusive interview on the Tuesday after the auction. “They have excellent specialists, they have programs, they report on how and what they do – this is what we need..
“We wrote them a letter, got a response from them, I have it. It was important for me that UNICEF noted that the money would go to all countries, without exception, that border Ukraine, where the refugees are.”
He said he hoped that the Ukrainian children who are now in Russia will also benefit: “There are more than one and a half million refugees in Russia, maybe a little less. Consequently, [we chose] UNICEF, which has such capabilities and which is well aware that he has not a political, but a humanitarian mission“.
The Russian Nobel laureate, who was awarded a gold medal in October 2021 along with Philippine journalist Maria Ressa for services to freedom of speech and fearless reporting in the face of harassment and death threats, said he never in his “wildest dreams” expected that the reward would bring in such a large amount.
His most optimistic hope was that she could reach $5 million.
Mr. Muratov said the auctioneers, at the request of UNICEF, checked the backgrounds of various bidders, including the winning bid, to ensure the money was not from an oligarch or any illegal criminal activity such as humans or drugs. human traffickers.
“They checked through the banking system, the financial system and all I can say is 100 percent that I was also informed, notified and shown that this is absolutely transparent and transparent money.“, he said in an interview with UN News.
However, he did not disclose the identity of the bidder, indicating that he did not know the name and that anonymity was guaranteed: “If I had known, I would not have disclosed this because it is a pure conflict of interest: people agreed with the rules that we proposed, and then we would have taken and violated the rules. This does not work“.
“It’s my country’s fault”
Explaining the many reasons why his publication cannot imagine allowing a Russian bidder to bid, or why he believes his newspaper should not transfer money directly to the Ukrainian government, he said that it would be a failure given the state war.
If first [Ukrainians] were angry, now they are furious – their country is torn, off the face of the earth …When you see all this every second, you constantly sound an alarm, you live between an apartment and a bomb shelter … It’s my country’s fault“.