The Nobel Peace Prize hasn't always bequeathed nobility.

In just two relatively recent examples, Ethiopian President Abiy Ahmed Ali followed his 2015 award with the persecution of ethnic Tigrayans amid his country's conflict. And Aung San Suu Kyi, 1991's recipient, forsook her human rights credibility by not protecting the Muslim minority Rohingya while she led Myanmar.

But other laureates have been laudable before and after being honored, including Russian Dmitry Muratov, who along with Filipino Maria Ressa was chosen last year for "efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is paramount for democracy and lasting peace."

They were especially worthy winners, since they report on and in countries that have elections but aren't really democracies.

It's only gotten worse for journalists in Russia since its February invasion of Ukraine. Those not using Orwellian euphemisms such as "special military operation" instead of "war" face 15 years in prison. Reporting the truth about the Kremlin's brutality — now being investigated as war crimes by vital international institutions — is nearly impossible within Russia, so Muratov felt forced to shut down his Novaya Gazeta newspaper, just like several other independent outlets.

Yet Muratov hasn't been silenced. And this week, an extraordinarily generous gesture spoke volumes about how his ideals match the aspirations of the award he won.

Muratov put his Nobel Peace Prize up for auction, with the proceeds slated for UNICEF in its efforts to aid Ukrainian children and their families. An anonymous buyer bid $103.5 million, scoring more than the previous records of $2.2 million and $4.7 million for Francis Crick and James Watson's 1962 Nobel Prizes in Medicine for discovering the double-helix structure of DNA.

Muratov's DNA was discoverable by UNICEF staffers who worked with him, UNICEF USA President Michael J. Nyenhuis said in an interview. They noted his "humanitarian spirits, his real heart of concern and compassion for the people who are affected by this," said Nyenhuis, a Minnesota native whose first job was as a carrier for the Minneapolis Star.

The contribution is "completely unprecedented, completely unparalleled," said Nyenhuis, who added that Muratov told his colleagues, " 'We believe in UNICEF, the world believes in UNICEF.' And so he puts a lot of trust in us to have these resources directed to UNICEF, and we don't take that lightly."

Muratov has had a "very clear antiwar stance," said Gulnoza Said, the Europe and Central Asia program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists. "In Russia, where civil society organizations are almost nonexistent, journalists often become activists as well." Very often, she added, "we see journalists not just standing by observing and reporting the news, but also helping people." And although Said acknowledged that there's the potential for questions to arise over journalistic impartiality, Ukrainian children are "the most nonpolitical group of all, and also arguably the most innocent group of victims of this war."

And that group's size is staggering: 7 million Ukrainians have been displaced, with over half of those children, Nyenhuis said. "The speed with which people fled the country, fled their homes into other parts of the country as well, was unprecedented."

Their ranks are composed of individual survival stories like the one Nyenhuis heard from a mother he recently spoke to while in Romania. "Hearing her story about getting her children out of the country because they spent too many nights in their basement when the bombs were going off and realized the only option they had was to flee to another country, you hear that, and it becomes much more personal."

Most Russians don't hear such stories. Instead, they're fed propaganda about Ukrainian "Nazis" and other such nonsense. "You have to choose from a number of government or pro-government media outlets to get your information," Said added. This means that "the understanding of everything that's going on in Russia and beyond including Ukraine, the understanding by the Russian public is already getting distorted." While some Russians have VPNs to get independent outside analysis, honest analysis from within the country "has become much more dangerous for journalists once the war started because now the Kremlin has practically zero tolerance to any dissent."

And the problem with propaganda, concluded Said, "is that they usually say that it works."

But however slowly, so can the truth. Especially the truth reported by the journalists CPJ protects, the on-the-ground truth UNICEF addresses, and the truth that the Nobel Peace Prize can confer.

"The public needs to get a variety of opinions and views in order to figure out the truth, to find the truth," a need made much more difficult after Novaya Gazeta's closure, said Said, adding that she's optimistic that invigorated voices from nearby nations are making an impact.

And a robust UNICEF operation in nearby nations and in Ukraine itself is a testament to Western, if not world, concern over refugees' plight.

"Massive loads" of medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, hygiene and birthing kits, clean water, mobile medical and mental health teams, and other resources have been delivered in Ukraine and Europe, Nyenhuis said. The public and governmental compassion are commensurate, he said, to only two other relatively recent crises: the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2010 Haitian earthquake. Both of those, of course, were natural disasters. The one in Ukraine is man-made (by Russian President Vladimir Putin, to be precise).

The Nobel Peace Prize should work as a shield. But under Putin's cruel rule, it might be kryptonite. Said pointed to the example of Alexei Navalny, the intrepid opposition leader who was poisoned, allegedly by Kremlin operatives; convalesced in Germany, and returned to defy Russia's Soviet drift. "He was very prominent, and the whole world practically asked Putin not to jail him," explained Said. But that's exactly what Putin did, and in fact just recently transferred Navalny to a prison notorious for torture.

Like Navalny, Muratov knows the risks. But like the fearless journalists he and Ressa represented with their Nobel Prize, he also realizes there is a risk in inaction.

Muratov told the New York Times in May that he was inspired to auction his award by another Nobel winner, Danish physicist Niels Bohr, who hawked his 1922 award to donate proceeds to help civilians in Finland after the Soviet Union invaded that nation in 1939.

Before the bidding, Muratov told attendees that "we hope that this will serve as an example for other people like a flash mob, for other people to auction their valuable possessions, their heirlooms, to help refugees, Ukrainian refugees around the world."

Beyond the hoped-for flash mob, the mass of humanity seeking safety within and outside of besieged Ukraine will notice, Nyenhuis said. "What they want is solidarity. They want people across the world, including in Russia, to know what has happened to them, to see what is happening, to rally around them in support.

"And so, to have this very-high profile Russian journalist stand strong with them will mean a great deal."

It also means a great deal to the Peace Prize itself. By winning it but not keeping it, the Nobel laureate reasserted its nobility.