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Navalny Deserved Peace Prize, Russian Nobel Winner Says

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Dmitri A. Muratov, the Russian newspaper editor awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, mentioned he would have given the distinction to a distinct Russian: Aleksei A. Navalny.

Mr. Navalny, the opposition chief jailed since January, had been seen as a favourite to win the prize. On Friday, a few of Mr. Navalny’s supporters reacted with anger to the Nobel announcement, as a result of they see Mr. Muratov as a determine open to compromise with the Kremlin reasonably than one who stays in principled opposition.

“If I had been on the Nobel Peace Prize committee, I would have voted for the person whom the bookmakers bet on,” Mr. Muratov mentioned in a information convention outdoors his newspaper’s Moscow headquarters. “I mean Aleksei Navalny.”

In an earlier interview, Mr. Muratov cited Mr. Navalny’s braveness.

The prize announcement got here amid a monthslong crackdown on the impartial information media in Russia. Popular shops and even particular person journalists have been declared “foreign agents” by the federal government for allegedly receiving overseas financing, forcing them to incorporate onerous disclaimers alongside all of their content material, even on social media.

Mr. Muratov famous that accepting the Nobel’s prize cash might, in principle, open him as much as being declared a overseas agent. It was a sign of how far the Kremlin’s marketing campaign in opposition to the impartial information media has gone that Mr. Muratov’s remark about that situation didn’t come throughout as solely a joke.

“I posed this question today to the government officials who decided to congratulate me,” Mr. Muratov mentioned. “Will we be declared foreign agents by receiving the Nobel Prize? I didn’t get a straight answer.”

Mr. Muratov mentioned his prize was posthumous recognition of the six journalists who had labored with Novaya Gazeta and been killed; he repeated all of their names twice. The most well-known was Anna Politkovskaya, the investigative journalist who was murdered in Moscow on Oct. 7, 2006. As Mr. Muratov spoke, he urged the scrum of reporters listening to him to keep away from trampling on the backyard that the workers had planted in entrance of the newspaper’s workplaces in her reminiscence.

“They don’t give these Nobel Prizes posthumously,” he mentioned. “I think they came up with this as a way for Anya to get the prize, through other, old hands.”