By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whom supporters saw as a top candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, has congratulated countryman Dmitry Muratov for winning it.
Muratov, editor of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was named prize co-laureate last week along with investigative journalist Maria Ressa of the Philippines.
“Russia and the Philippines are such different countries, but the leaderships are similar, especially in their endless lies and hatred of those who expose the lies,” Navalny stressed in a statement on Monday. “With all my heart, I congratulate Dmitry Muratov and Novaya Gazeta on the Nobel Peace Prize.”
Navalny supporters criticized the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award Muratov with the Nobel Peace Prize instead of Navalny, The Moscow Times newspaper reported.
Despite protests, Navalny was recently ordered to serve 2 1/2 years behind bars on what he says are false charges after surviving a nerve agent poisoning attack last August.
Navalny, who is recognized by human rights group Amnesty International as a “prisoner of conscience,” has been a front runner for the Nobel Peace Prize.
After the prize announcement, Muratov said if he had been on the prize committee, he would have voted for Navalny. He also stressed that the peace prize was awarded to honor his newspaper, not him.
Navalny was imprisoned this year after returning to Russia from Germany, where he had been recuperating from the nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin.
Moscow has denied wrongdoing.
Muratov said he would use part of his share of the 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.14 million) prize money to help independent media besides a Moscow hospice and children with spinal muscular problems.
He said he wouldn’t keep any of the money himself.
Former Soviet leader and 1990 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mikhail Gorbachev used some of his award to help fund what would become Novaya Gazeta.
He congratulated Muratov, calling him “a wonderful, brave and honest journalist and my friend.”
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