Dmitri A. Muratov, the Russian newspaper editor awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, mentioned he would have given the distinction to a unique 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 somewhat than one who stays in principled opposition.
“If I had been on the Nobel Peace Prize committee, I might have voted for the particular person whom the bookmakers guess on,” Mr. Muratov mentioned in a information convention outdoors his newspaper’s Moscow headquarters. “I imply Aleksei Navalny.”
In one other interview, Mr. Muratov cited Mr. Navalny’s braveness.
The prize announcement got here amid a monthslong crackdown on the independent news media in Russia. Standard retailers and even particular person journalists have been declared “international brokers” by the federal government for allegedly receiving international 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 concept, open him as much as being declared a international agent. It was a sign of how far the Kremlin’s marketing campaign towards 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 query in the present day to the federal government officers who determined to congratulate me,” Mr. Muratov mentioned. “Will we be declared international brokers by receiving the Nobel Prize? I didn’t get a straight reply.”
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. Essentially 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 employees had planted in entrance of the newspaper’s workplaces in her reminiscence.
“They don’t give these Nobel Prizes posthumously,” he mentioned. “I believe they got here up with this as a means for Anya to get the prize, by means of different, outdated palms.”