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Roman Abramovich’s $1bn five-yacht fleet revealed

The luxury yacht Eclipse moored off Marmaris in Turkey.

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Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich owns or is linked to a collection of five yachts estimated to be worth almost $1bn, including several vessels whose ownership remained secret until this week.

A Financial Times investigation into the billionaire’s assets has lifted the veil of secrecy he maintains over his wealth, even after the UK and EU imposed sanctions on him following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for his allegedly close relationship with President Vladimir Putin.

Authorities in the UK and EU are attempting to identify all of the assets owned by sanctioned oligarchs. Abramovich was already widely reported to be the owner of Solaris and Eclipse — worth $474mn and $437mn, respectively, according to yacht data service VesselsValue. But the FT revealed this week that he also owns Halo and Garçon, which are both moored in Antigua.

The Antiguan government was unaware of the ownership of the boats docked on the island before inquiries from the FT, highlighting the scale of the challenge UK and EU authorities face in enforcing sanctions.

Tom Keatinge, director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute think-tank said governments, banks and other institutions trying to enforce sanctions had to navigate a world where “ownership trails run cold and morph into a haze of front companies, nominees and cut-outs”.

The yacht Amore Vero after being impounded by French authorities in La Ciotat, France.

Halo and Garçon are valued at $38mn and $20mn, respectively, and are now at risk of being seized.

In a letter to the British high commissioner to Barbados regarding the yachts, Antiguan minister of foreign affairs Paul Chet Greene said the island would “provide full assistance to the government of the United Kingdom” if it receives a request under the two nations’ Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

The letter noted that Antigua had requested information on the company that owns the two boats — British Virgin Islands-registered Wenham Overseas Limited — after “persistent allegations by the Financial Times that the vessels could be owned by Mr Roman Abramovich”.

In response, the British high commission provided Antiguan authorities with a letter, seen by the FT, “from the Financial Investigation Agency of the British Virgin Islands which states the beneficial owner of Wenham Overseas Ltd is Roman Abramovich”.

The letter also shows the billionaire’s address in Switzerland is listed simply as “Immeuble, Gatzby Le Magnifique”, which translates as “The Great Gatsby Building”.

Keatinge described the UK’s ability to demand full ownership information of companies registered in any of its overseas territories or crown dependencies as its “most powerful global weapon” in combating financial secrecy.

However, he asked: “How much is that weapon being used?”

UK transport secretary Grant Shapps with the impounded Russian-owned yacht Phi in Canary Wharf, east London.

A person with knowledge of Abramovich’s boat collection and documents seen by the FT indicate that the oligarch may also still be the owner of Sussurro, the first yacht he bought in 1998, despite reports he had given it to an ex-wife in a divorce.

The person who correctly identified the two yachts in Antigua as belonging to Abramovich told the FT the oligarch still owned Sussurro.

The vessel’s owner is listed in maritime registers as Vesuvius International Limited in the British Virgin Islands. BVI documents show this company was deregistered there in 2017. Another Vesuvius International was registered in Jersey the same year.

The owner of Jersey-based Vesuvius International is listed as Wotton Overseas Holdings Limited. This entity — which shifted from the BVI to Jersey in 2017 — is also the owner through a subsidiary of a helicopter that has been photographed landing on Abramovich’s Solaris several times.

Maritime tracking services show Sussurro, which means “whisper” in Italian and is valued at $11mn, is moored in La Ciotat in the south of France — the same port where the French government last month seized a $116mn superyacht belonging to a company tied to Igor Sechin, head of Russian oil group Rosneft.

Sussurro’s management company is Blue Ocean Management, a Cyprus-based company that also manages Le Grand Bleu, a 113-metre superyacht that Abramovich reportedly gave to his business associate Eugene Shvidler.

The UK placed Shvidler under sanctions last week.

The letter from the BVI’s financial investigation agency to its British counterparts also reveals that the owner of Le Grand Blue — Ashchurch Holdings Limited — is owned by “Zarui Shvidler”. Shvidler’s wife is commonly known as Zara Shvidler.

VesselsValue pegged Le Grand Bleu’s market value in a range of $110mn-$130mn, noting that the boat had last been tracked this week in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Puerto Rico.

Representatives for Abramovich and Shvidler did not respond to requests for comment.

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Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich’s Two Superyachts Are Sailing Towards Each Other in the Mediterranean

Ship tracking platforms show that the billionaire’s yachts "eclipse" and "solaris" are relocating to the mediterranean, with no port destination specified., emma reynolds, emma reynolds's most recent stories.

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Blohm & Voss "Eclipse" Superyacht

Russian oligarch and billionaire Roman Abramovich is on the move—and so are his superyachts.

After being slapped with sanctions in response to Russia ’s invasion of Ukraine, the billionaire was last seen on March 14 at an airport in Israel, where he has dual citizenship, according to Reuters .

Abramovich, who is currently worth an estimated $7.1 billion, according to Forbes , appears to be moving his yachts to safer waters. His 533-foot superyacht Eclipse , normally anchored year-round in the Caribbean, has been sailing east towards the Mediterranean since February 21, according to global ship tracking platform MarineTraffic. As of Wednesday, the ship is located off the coast of Algeria and is still sailing east with no port destination specified. The yacht, estimated to be worth over $600 million, is one of the largest and most expensive in the world , and seems to be cruising towards Abramovich’s other yacht, Solaris , in the Ionian Sea.

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Russian oligarchs yachts continued to be seized

Roman Abramovich’s “Solaris” superyacht.  Courtesy of Lloyd Werft

The 461-foot Solaris  is currently located in the Ionian Sea off the western coast of Greece and heading south. Solaris was most recently at a port in Barcelona, where it had reportedly been receiving repairs since late 2021 . The ship left without declaring a destination. However, it’s possible both Solaris and Eclipse are heading towards each other and are even eyeing ports in Israel where Abramovich is considered safe from sanctions.

Though a long-time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Abramovich has denied having close ties to the Kremlin. This hasn’t stopped dozens of nations, including the US, UK and several EU countries, from implementing sanctions and asset freezes on the oligarch. The sanctions are part of a concerted multinational effort to pressure Russia’s wealthiest and most powerful individuals to help bring Russia’s war on Ukraine to an end.

Perhaps sensing the economic pressures to come, Abramovich made headlines just days after the Ukraine invasion for stating his intention to sell his beloved Chelsea Football Club in London for $2.5 billion. The billionaire said all proceeds would benefit Ukrainian refugees and “victims of the war,” which, notably, may also include Russian soldiers.

Russian oligarch and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich

Russian oligarch and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich appears to be seeking cover from international sanctions in Israel, where he has dual citizenship.  Associated Press

Russians own up to 10 percent of the world’s megayachts, so Abramovich is just one of many Russian billionaires who are moving their assets to avoid seizure by international authorities. This week, Italian police seized Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko’s 486-foot Sailing Yacht A, and earlier this month, France impounded the yacht Amore Vero , owned by Russian oil billionaire Igor Sechin. Other Russian billionaires have had their yachts impounded in other EU countries.

This isn’t the first time Russian oligarchs’ whereabouts have been made public. Florida teen Jack Sweeney, who once tracked Elon Musk’s jet, created a Twitter account —@RUOligarchJets—dedicated to tracking the private jets of Russian oligarchs, which is updated daily.

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Sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s fleet of superyachts was revealed Friday to be more extensive than previously known following the discovery of two more luxury vessels in Antigua – both of which now face seizure.

British authorities have determined that Abramovich is the owner of the yachts Halo and Garçon, which have been the subject of persistent scrutiny while docked in Antigua as Western nations crackdown on the wealth of rich Russians during the Ukraine invasion.

Halo is valued at approximately $38 million, while Garçon is worth about $20 million, according to data from yacht valuation firm VesselsValue.

Abramovich’s ownership of the two additional superyachts came to light following an extensive investigation by the Financial Times .

A top Antiguan official said the island sought information on Wenham Overseas Limited, an Abramovich-linked and British Virgin Islands-based firm listed as the owner of Halo and Garçon. The firm is on the UK sanctions list.

Roman Abramovich yacht Eclipse

In a letter to Antigua’s government, British officials said an investigation had determined that the “beneficial owner of Wenham Overseas Ltd is Roman Abramovich.”

Ronald Sanders, Antigua’s ambassador to the United States, said the country is willing to detain and seize both vessels if it receives a formal request from the UK government.

“The only way we can (seize the vessels) is if the British in their mutual legal assistance treaty request establish that this is a person they want because he has committed some crime,” Sanders told Reuters.

Abramovich was already known to be the owner of the $600 million Solaris and the $700 million Eclipse, each of which fled to sea last month after the United Kingdom sanctioned the oligarch. Both yachts were last known to be docked in Turkey .

Roman Abramovich

The Russian billionaire may also still own a fifth yacht, the $11 million Sussurro, that he first purchased in 1998, according to the FT. While Abramovich reportedly gave the yacht to his ex-wife following their divorce, the outlet said a source with knowledge of his fleet and other documents showed the oligarch was still linked to the vessel through another firm.

Abramovich and other oligarchs have scrambled to protect the trappings of their wealth during the increasingly harsh crackdown. The UK sanctions froze Abramovich’s assets and forced him to sell his ownership stake in the Premier League soccer club Chelsea.

Meanwhile, reports have surfaced that Abramovich may have been poisoned alongside Ukrainian officials last month while attending peace talks aimed at ending the invasion – a sign that the oligarch’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin has frayed.

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Roman Abramovich's superyacht, Solaris

Superyachts tracked: Abramovich’s boat heads east after sanctions

Solaris is tracked off coast of Sicily, joining hurried sailings of Russian yachts to avoid seizure

  • Ukraine-Russia war – latest updates
  • The oligarchs and business figures on western sanction lists

Roman Abramovich’s superyacht Solaris was heading east across the Mediterranean on Thursday after sanctions were extended to the Chelsea FC owner.

His $600m vessel, tracked off the coast of Sicily on Thursday, appeared to have joined the hurried sailings of Russian oligarchs moving their superyachts across the world to avoid seizure by governments enforcing sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Solaris left the Barcelona port where it had been undergoing repairs on Tuesday, according to Reuters, and by Thursday afternoon it was rounding the southern coast of Sicily. Abramovich’s other yacht, the even more luxurious Eclipse – estimated to be worth more than $1bn after extensive renovations – set sail east from the Caribbean island of St Maarten towards international waters shortly after other oligarchs’ yachts were seized.

The Eclipse had crossed much of the Atlantic by midday Thursday when it was located to the west of the Canary Islands according to vesselfinder.com.

Abramovich was sanctioned by the US in 2018 but joined the UK list on Thursday morning. A spokesperson for Abramovich said earlier this week: “We never comment on the movements of the yacht or any other vehicles or vessels.”

The 163-metre Eclipse, which includes nine decks, two helipads and a 16-metre swimming pool that can be converted into a dancefloor, is the most expensive vessel owned by individuals on the growing US, EU and UK sanction lists.

Many super-rich Russians – including some not yet on the sanctions list, but with links to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin – appear to be attempting to move their superyachts to countries without formal extradition agreements with western governments.

French and Italian authorities last week seized three yachts worth more than $225m (£170m).

Tracking data from the shipping intelligence service MarineTraffic shows that Titan, a $100m superyacht owned by Alexander Abramov, a billionaire iron and steel magnate, arrived in Maldives waters last week after sailing from Fethiye in Turkey. Its owner, who holds a big stake alongside Abramovich in the London-listed coal and steel group Evraz, is not on any sanctions lists.

Clio, a $65m superyacht owned by the aluminium billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who has been subject to US sanctions since 2018, was reported last week to be heading for Raa Atoll in the Maldives. The Maldives is an Indian Ocean island nation with no extradition treaty with the US or the EU.

The US president, Joe Biden, said last week the US was actively working to seize the superyachts, luxury apartments and private jets of oligarchs linked to Putin. “We are coming for your ill-begotten gains,” he said in his State of the Union address .

The White House spokesperson, Jen Psaki, added: “We want [Putin] to feel the squeeze, we want the people around him to feel the squeeze.”

Three ways you can help the people of Ukraine from the UK

Support local charities

There are several Ukrainian charities working on the ground.  Sunflower of Peace  is a charity that helps paramedics and doctors, and has been fundraising for supplies, which includes first aid medical tactical backpacks.

United Help Ukraine  focuses on providing medical supplies and humanitarian aid, and raising awareness of the conflict.

Voices of Children  aims to help children affected by the war in eastern Ukraine, providing support through art therapy, psychologists, video storytelling and a number of other methods.

The  British Red Cross  has launched an emergency appeal to help Ukraine. The charity will be updating its webpage with news on the work its team is doing, and how support will be used to help people.

Support local journalism

English-language news outlets based in the country, such as  Kyiv Independent  and the  New Voice of Ukraine , are covering developments on the ground as the conflict unfolds, using local journalists. The Kyiv Independent says it was created by journalists in order to defend editorial independence. This  site on Twitter  covers many local journalists in Ukraine.

Write to your local MP

This can be a way to lobby the British government to place further sanctions on the Russian government and its associates. You can get in touch with your local MP via email or post to their constituency address. Instructions on how to get in touch can be found on  parliament.uk.

Grant Shapps, the UK transport secretary, said the government would detain any yachts suspected of being Russian-owned if they entered UK waters. “I want to make it impossible for individuals with links to Putin to use their aircraft in UK airspace, at UK airports or airfields, and any aircraft suspected of being linked to Russia will be detained,” he said. “Likewise, their yachts. Any of these floating gin palaces with an identifiable Russian connection will be detained if it attempts to dock in a British port.”

France detained Amore Vero , a 280ft, $120m superyacht they said was owned by Igor Sechin, in the Mediterranean port of La Ciotat. Sechin, who is also facing sanctions, is the chief executive of the Russian oil producer Rosneft and a close ally of Putin. Amore Vero, which means “true love” in Italian, can accommodate 14 guests and 28 crew.

French police, who boarded the vessel at night last week, said the ship was in port for repairs, but its crew were “making arrangements to leave in a hurry, without having completed the planned work”.

Italy’s Guardia di Finanza boarded and impounded Lena , a 41-metre, $45m yacht owned by Gennady Timchenko, a close friend of Putin who has an estimated $21bn fortune held in several large Russian raw materials companies, in Sanremo. Lady M, a 64-metre, $60m yacht owned by Alexei Mordashov, was seized in the nearby Ligurian port of Imperia.

Dilbar , the world’s largest superyacht by gross tonnage, which the US government said is owned by Alisher Usmanov , was reported to have been seized in Hamburg. However, German authorities later clarified that the 156-metre vessel, which has been valued at $600m, has not been impounded but requires an export waiver to leave the port.

Usmanov, who reportedly owns Witanhurst, the second biggest private home in the UK after Buckingham Palace, was added to the EU’s sanction list on Wednesday. The US imposed sanctions on him last week after the White House described him as a “one of Russia’s wealthiest individuals and a close ally of Putin”.

The yachts identified by the Guardian as linked to oligarchs are worth more than $3bn. The ultimate ownership of superyachts can be difficult to confirm as many are owned through shell companies registered in tax havens.

Additional reporting by Pamela Duncan , Joanna Partridge and Georgina Quach

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Russian oligarch stashes second yacht in Turkey, apparently to beat Ukraine-linked sanctions

March 22, 2022 / 7:55 AM EDT / CBS/AP

Ankara, Turkey — A second superyacht belonging to Chelsea soccer club owner and sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has docked in a resort in southwestern Turkey - a country that's not applying sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine , Turkish media reports said Tuesday.

The private DHA news agency said the Bermuda-registered Eclipse docked at a port in the resort of Marmaris amid international efforts to freeze assets belonging to top Russian businessmen linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A day earlier, Abramovich's Bermuda-flagged luxury yacht My Solaris arrived in the nearby resort of Bodrum, triggering a protest by a group of Ukrainians who boarded a small motor boat and tried to prevent the yacht from docking.

Last week, the European Union updated a list of individuals facing asset freezes and travel bans over their ties to the Kremlin and began imposing sanctions on Abramovich. The 55-year-old had already been punished in Britain.


NATO-member Turkey has close ties to both Russia and Ukraine. It has criticized Moscow's invasion of Ukraine but has also positioned itself as a neutral party trying to mediate between the two.

Abramovich announced earlier this month that he's selling the Chelsea club. Abramovich said the sale won't "be fast-tracked but will follow due process" and that the net proceeds will go to victims in Ukraine.

FILE PHOTO: Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich arrives at a division of the High Court in central London

"This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and Club," he said. 

Forbes has valued Abramovich's net worth  at $12.4 billion  while Chelsea was worth an  estimated $3.2 billion  in 2021. The 55-year-old, who was once Russia's richest man, said he will set up a foundation to which net proceeds from the sale will be donated.

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Yacht linked to Russian oligarch Abramovich docks in Turkey's Bodrum

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By Yesim Dikmen and Dominic Evans

ISTANBUL (Reuters) -A superyacht linked to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich docked in the Turkish tourist resort of Bodrum on Monday, after skirting the waters of European Union countries which have sanctioned the oligarch over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich was among several wealthy Russians added last week to an EU blacklist, and EU governments have acted in recent days to seize yachts and other luxury assets from them.

World governments are seeking to isolate President Vladimir Putin and his allies over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin calls a "special military operation".

Last week, Abramovich flew into Moscow after leaving Istanbul in his private jet. According to flight tracking data it was a second trip by a jet linked to Abramovich between the Turkish city and the Russian capital in three days.

A spokesperson for Abramovich did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

There was no indication that Abramovich was on the 140-metre (460-foot) yacht Solaris when it docked in Bodrum on Monday afternoon, just over a week after it left Montenegro's Adriatic resort town of Tivat on March 13.

Since then the vessel, which sails under a Bermuda flag according to monitoring site Marine Traffic, had tracked south and rounded the Greek island of Crete in recent days before reaching Turkish waters on Monday morning.

It spent the day motoring north, hugging the Turkish coast and steering away from nearby Greek islands, before arriving in Bodrum where pictures showed the imposing white vessel towering over other moored boats.

The superyacht was built in a German shipyard and first took to the sea early last year. It is one of a string of yachts owned by Abramovich, according to reports in luxury goods publications SuperYachtFan, SuperYacht and Forbes.

Its latest journey began on March 8 when it left a Barcelona shipyard where it had been undergoing repairs.

A second yacht linked to Abramovich, Eclipse, is currently cruising south of the Greek island of Rhodes and also seems to be on its way to Turkey, according to Marine Traffic.

Several groups have been confirmed as bidders to buy English soccer club Chelsea from Abramovich, who was also hit by British government sanctions following Russia's invasion.

(Reporting by Yesim Dikmen and Dominic Evans; Additional reporting by Catarina Demony; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Jonathan Spicer, Mark Heinrich and Alexander Smith)

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When I tell people about our package on American oligarchy at Mother Jones , everyone wants to know about the yachts .

As I wrote in an essay for the magazine, these gleaming vessels have come to symbolize both the decadence and detachment of Russia’s ultra-wealthy and our own. And they are full of some absolutely ridiculous shit: submarines and helicopter hangars, sculptures of spouses preening off the bow, climbing walls, anti-paparazzi lasers, drone-detection systems, gold-leaf ceilings, IMAX theaters. The former owner of Tottenham Hotspur installed a padel court on the yacht where he used to conduct his business deals. (Are you familiar with padel? It’s sort of like pickleball for people who do insider trading .)

But there’s one yacht that I’ve come to think of as sort of the yacht of yachts. The Christina O is not the biggest superyacht in the world; at 325 feet, it is a full 265 feet shorter than the royal family of Abu Dhabi’s pleasure craft, Azzam . But the Christina O is unsurpassed in both its rich-guy history and rich-guy taste. It was built for Aristotle Onassis in the 1950s, played host to Jackie Kennedy, and served as Grace Kelly’s wedding venue when she married the Prince of Monaco. It also had a swimming pool that turned into a dance floor and bar stools made out of whale foreskins, so that Onassis could tell women that they were “sitting on the largest penis in the world.” The dance floor became a recurring feature in the industry; the seats, as far as I know, did not.

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It wasn’t just its life under Onassis, though, that gives the Christina O its mystique. The ship has has had an illustrious afterlife as a for-charter vessel, at the low price of $800,000-a-week . It was a filming location for The Crown , and for an Angelina Jolie movie about Maria Callas (one of Onassis’ lovers), and for the 2022 Academy-Award-nominee, Triangle of Sadness , which is about a group of wealthy tourists who end up submerged in sewage and attacked by pirates after arguing about capitalism. Heidi Klum got married on it. And in the summer of 2023, a year after finalizing his divorce with his fourth-wife Jerry Hall, it’s where Rupert Murdoch retreated for a Mediterranean cruise with two of his daughters; his third ex-wife Wendy Deng; and one of Deng’s good friends—a molecular biologist named Elena Zhukova.

As they soaked in the sun in Naples and Corfu, the Daily Mail reported that Murdoch and Zhukova were more than friends. “He’s got the energy of people half his age,” a source helpfully told Matt Drudge. “He just might be in love again.” On Friday the New York Times confirmed that the 92-going-on-46-year-old Murdoch and 66-year-old Zhukova are officially engaged. There’s just something about that ship!

Murdoch, you know by now—he is the conservative media mogul “who has done more damage to the United States,” former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull told Sean Kelly in Mother Jones earlier this year, than any other person alive. But Zhukova is an equally compelling figure in oligarch circles. 

Born in the USSR, she emigrated to the US to work at Baylor College of Medicine and ended up researching diabetes at UCLA. She was married for a while to a Russian billionaire investor , Alexander Zhukov, and they had a daughter, Dasha Zhukova, but Alexander and Elena had divorced before Alexander made most of his money. Then in 2008, Dasha Zhukova also married a Russian billionaire investor—Roman Abramovich, an oligarch who made his first fortune when he scooped up a state-owned oil company at cents on the dollar and eventually built the world’s third-largest yacht, Eclipse . The couple got big into art collecting and curation, and even started a contemporary art museum in St. Petersburg. The younger Zhukova also struck up a friendship with Murdoch’s third-wife (at the time), and when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he was making Abramovich an “honorary citizen” of New York City in 2013, Deng was in attendance .

Murdoch divorced Deng and married Jerry Hall, and then Murdoch and Hall divorced too. Roman and Dasha divorced in 2018, and Dasha Zhukova ended up remarrying a year later to the Greek billionaire Stavros Niarchos III—who was, to bring this full circle, the grandson of Stravros Niarchos I, a famous yacht owner, and the person Onassis was trying to one-up when he decided to build a sprawling luxury yacht stuffed with whale foreskins.

That’s a lot to sift through, but that’s sort of the point: Once you start reading about rich people and their yachts, you realize that you can never stop reading about rich people and their yachts. You are always , on some level, reading about rich people and their yachts, even if it seems like you are reading about art or politics or soccer . It’s like discovering some hidden fabric of the universe that binds and connects everyone with an offshore bank account and three or more wives.

This is Murdoch’s second engagement in the last year. Last March, less than a year after he divorced Hall, he announced impending nuptials with Ann Lesley Smith, a Los Angeles dental hygienist who met Murdoch either—accounts vary—at the same southern California vineyard where he is about to marry Zhukova or at his ranch in Montana, where, The Guardian reported , “the former dental hygienist was said to have offered to check his cavities.” 

Smith, who had been married three times, referred to their union as a “ gift from God .” That engagement ended after two weeks.

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Russian oligarch went to Moscow in effort to broker complex prisoner exchange that included Navalny, sources say

A multi-country prisoner exchange that might have freed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was being discussed and progressing when he died last month, multiple sources have told CNN, and included the direct involvement of a Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich.

A two-year stop-start process exploring options to secure the release of Navalny began to accelerate when Abramovich visited Moscow in recent months, two of the sources said.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had also embraced early efforts to win Navalny’s freedom, according to several sources.

Abramovich, who is sanctioned in the West and spends much of his time in the United Arab Emirates, met a US official as ideas for the complex exchange involving as many as seven people took shape, according to one source close to the process. Abramovich has kept a connection with the Kremlin since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and was instrumental in early efforts at negotiating an end to the conflict.

One source familiar with Abramovich’s movements said that he had traveled to Moscow to meet with officials at the Kremlin. CNN has been unable to confirm independently when Abramovich went to Moscow, nor reports in independent Russian media on Friday that he met Russian President Vladimir Putin hours before the prison authorities announced that Navalny had died at a penal colony in Siberia on February 16.

However, a source close to Navalny’s team told CNN that on the evening of February 15 they had received word that a message had been delivered to Putin. In what form though, they were unable to say. A key aide to Navalny, Maria Pevchikh, said soon after he died that Abramovich had become involved in exploring a deal, and had “delivered the proposal to swap Navalny” to the Kremlin. She added that he was acting as “an informal negotiator in communication with American and European officials.”

The source familiar with Abramovich’s involvement said he was “flabbergasted” to hear that Navalny had died even as he pursued the exchange.

On February 27, 11 days after Navalny’s death, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov side-stepped questions about Abramovich’s involvement. Asked whether he knew whether Abramovich had discussed a prisoner swap with Putin, he said: “You can ask Abramovich’s representatives. This is not a question to us.”

One Western diplomat told CNN last week that on a scale of one to 10, the prospects of a swap had “reached seven or eight” by the time Navalny died at the IK-3 prison colony.

Even so, the proposal was still at an informal stage, according to several sources familiar with the process, and a deal did not appear imminent.

“The offer can only be made once it’s been accepted informally. That’s how it works in these negotiations,” he said.

A US official concurred, telling CNN: “There was no formal offer extended to Russia at the time of Navalny’s death.”

“Navalny’s release was not imminent before his sudden death,” the official added.

An Aspen meeting

Back in the summer of 2022, Hillary Clinton was approached by Christo Grozev, who has worked with the Navalny team for several years, at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado.

According to someone familiar with the meeting, Clinton told Grozev that she had followed his work with Navalny, which included revealing the identities of the FSB team that had poisoned Navalny. Clinton said she had also seen the documentary that Grozev helped to make about Navalny. The documentary, which won an Academy Award, was partly based on an investigation into Navalny’s poisoning in August 2020 by CNN and the independent investigative group Bellingcat.

Grozev told CNN that Clinton agreed to reach out to officials in the Biden administration with an idea: exchanging Navalny for a Russian linked to the security service, the FSB, who had been convicted of murder in Berlin. Another name discussed was Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. (Bout was subsequently freed by the US in December 2022 in exchange for American basketball star Brittney Griner, held in a prison colony in Russia after being convicted of cannabis possession.)

Clinton “initially passed on the message” to US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Grozev told CNN. A source confirmed Clinton had reached out to Sullivan. The National Security Council declined to comment.

Navalny adviser Pevchikh also said the Russian convicted of murdering a Chechen dissident in Berlin in 2019 was included in a proposed deal. Pevchikh said that “in early February, Putin was offered to exchange Vadim Krasikov, a killer and an FSB officer who is serving a sentence for murder in Berlin, for two American citizens and Alexey Navalny.”

German prosecutors said that Krasikov was sent by the Russian security services with a false identity to carry out the killing. He was sentenced to life in prison after his conviction in a Berlin court.

The Kremlin denied that he had been working on behalf of the state. But without naming Krasikov, Putin last month floated the idea of securing the release of a Russian “patriot” who he said was serving a life sentence for “liquidating a bandit” in Europe. Speaking to Tucker Carlson in Moscow, Putin implied the deal would be in exchange for the Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been charged with espionage in Russia.

The final framework of the proposed deal is unclear, but an individual close to the Navalny team said that an expanded proposal included the possible release of both Gershkovich and another American imprisoned in Russia, Paul Whelan, in addition to Navalny.

“We had to find a way to package the German asset [Krasikov] into an American negotiation,” the source close to the Navalny team said. The Russians had initially proposed that a German-Russian dual citizen held in Russia on espionage charges be exchanged for Krasikov, an offer flatly refused by the Germans.

It became a complex triangular arrangement, he said. “It had to be explained to the Americans that the only way for them to get Whelan and Gershkovich is if the Russians get Krasikov. But the Germans would only hand over Krasikov in exchange for Navalny.”

“The German government was very serious about it,” the Western diplomat told CNN last week. But the diplomat added that it was unlikely the Russians would have agreed to trade three valuable prisoners - Navalny, Gershkovich and Whelan – for one – Krasikov - and would have wanted to expand the deal.

“There are other places bad Russians are. The question was how to get everybody aligned, so various ideas were being thrown around,” the diplomat added. “You have to be creative.”

Another Russian who could be included is Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, an alleged Russian spy who has been charged by the US Department of Justice with fraud and other crimes and is being held in Brazil. Russian and American extradition requests have been declined by Brazilian authorities.

Getting the message to Putin was one of the greatest challenges, the individual close to the Navalny team told CNN. “There was a lot of interest at mid-level, but whenever it got to ‘Oh, who’s going to tell Putin?’ people chickened out.”

Abramovich, according to multiple sources, did not chicken out. But exactly when and how he delivered the informal proposal to the Kremlin, or to President Putin himself, is still not confirmed. Ultimately, the process did not move swiftly enough to save Navalny.

And his aides remain convinced that Putin ordered the killing of the opposition leader, a claim the Kremlin denies.

This story has been updated to include further comment from a US official.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com

Navalny died aged 47 in an Arctic prison on February 16, sparking condemnation from world leaders and accusations from his aides that he had been murdered. - Getty Images

Second Abramovich superyacht docks in sanctions-free Turkey

  • Two yachts are docked in resorts in southwest Turkey
  • Turkey says it opposes sanctions imposed by Western allies
  • Sources say Abramovich, other Russian investments expected

The Eclipse superyacht is seen at the Port of Palm Beach in Riviera Beach, Florida


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A Chronicle of Current Events

For human rights & freedom of expression in the ussr, the podrabinek case, dec 1977 to feb 1978 (48.7).

<<No 48 : 14 March 1978>>

On 1 December 1977, the brothers Alexander and Kirill PODRABINEK (CCE 47) and their father Pinkhos Abramovich PODRABINEK were summoned for a chat by Yu.S. Belov, chief of a department at the Moscow City and Regional KGB. Alexander refused to appear.

“On behalf of the Committee for State Security ” (Belov told Kirill and his father Pinkhos Podrabinek)

“I suggest that you and your families leave the Soviet Union and go abroad via Israel within 20 days. There is enough material against you, Kirill Pinkhosovich, to institute criminal proceedings. You, Pinkhos Abramovich, are also known to us for your anti-social activities. An act of humanity is being offered to you both. I advise you to make use of it.”

abramovic oligarch yacht

Alexander (b. 1953) and Kirill Podrabinek (b. 1952)

The same evening Alexander Podrabinek was arrested on the street and taken to the KGB. Belov presented him, too, with an ultimatum: all three must leave the country, otherwise criminal proceedings would be instituted against both brothers.

Belov let it be understood that the absence of an invitation and difficulties with money would not be obstacles. Belov stressed that they could only leave all together.


Many painful disputes have sprung up around the moral problems arising from KGB’s ultimatums and blackmail. The Chronicle cannot present the arguments but at least it can accurately convey the stance of participants in such events by reproducing all their statements in sufficient detail.

On 6 December 1977, there was a press conference at Andrei Sakharov ’s flat. Pinkhos PODRABINEK read out a “Statement for the Belgrade Conference [note 1] and the Press”:

“A distinctive feature of this case is the KGB’s use of the hostage system. Not one of us can determine his own fate independently, and a decision about the fate of three people has been placed by the KGB on Alexander Podrabinek alone, in whose departure the authorities are most of all interested. “We categorically refuse to accept such conditions and insist on our right to make our choices independently…”

Then Alexander PODRABINEK read out his “Reply” to the KGB’s proposal:

“I would like to draw the attention of the world public to my brother’s painful position and to the dirty tactics of the KGB — tactics of intimidation and terror. The whole world condemns the hijacking of aeroplanes and the taking of passengers as hostages, yet the KGB is using the very same method with regard to my brother, a method commonly used by terrorists. In the situation that has arisen the most painful thing for me is my brother’s fate. “At the KGB they insistently advised me to take advantage of this ‘humane act of the Soviet government’, as they expressed it. I regard this proposal as unconcealed blackmail by the KGB. “They have given me four days to reflect. On 5 December I have to give my reply. A reply that means a great deal to me. “This is my reply.

“I do not wish to go to prison. I value even the semblance of freedom which I possess now. I know that I would be able to live freely in the West and at last receive a real education. I know that there I would not have four agents at my heels, threatening to beat me up or push me under a train.

“Over there, I know, they will not put me in a concentration camp or a psychiatric hospital for attempting to defend people who are denied their rights and oppressed. Over there, I know, one breathes easily. While here one does so with difficulty, and they stop your mouth and stifle you if you speak too loudly. I know that our country is unhappy and doomed to suffering.

“And that is why I am staying.

“I do not want to go to prison, but neither do I fear a camp. I value my own freedom as I value my brother’s, but I am not bargaining for it. I will not give in to any blackmail.

“A clear conscience is dearer to me than material well-being. I was born in Russia. This is my country, and I must remain here, however hard it may be and however easy in the West. As far as I am able, I will go on defending those whose rights are being so brazenly trampled on in our country.

“That is my reply. I am staying.”

After this Alexander Podrabinek added that he would agree to leave the country only if Kirill were to ask him to do so.

On 7 December 1977, Kirill PODRABINEK made a statement:

KGB Blackmail

1. The KGB is using the hostage-taking method. They are basically blackmailing my brother Alexander, while I am the hostage. 2. The very formulation of the question: ‘leave or we will put you in prison’, is contrary to the law. If a man has committed a crime he must be prosecuted. However, in this case the KGB does not want to stage a new political trial but prefers to dispatch us abroad. The KGB has employed a well-calculated device — to exploit the insolubility of a situation with a hostage. All this blackmail is patently a consequence of the public stand taken by our family … “If any one of the three of us is arrested and any charge whatsoever brought against him, it can only be viewed as an act of revenge by the KGB and not as a requirement of justice.”

On 12 December 1977, Kirill Podrabinek informed Belov that he had decided to leave. Belov replied that Kirill could hand in his emigration documents, and on the same day Kirill did so. On 14 December Kirill Podrabinek made an addition to his previous statement:

“On 12 December, I telephoned investigator Belov at the KGB. Permission to go abroad has been granted; there was no mention of my only being able to leave only with my brother. Does this mean that the KGB has given up its hostage-taking and will really allow me to leave? In the very near future this will become clear … In view of all the circumstances, and fearing for my life” (see CCE 47) “I have taken the decision to leave.” *


On 27 December 1977, the police in Elektrostal (Moscow Region) brought charges against Kirill Podrabinek under Article 215 (RSFSR Criminal Code: “Illegal possession of arms, ammunition” etc). Kirill refused to sign the record of this charge. Investigator Radygin obtained his written undertaking not to leave town but said he would not need Kirill before the middle of January and, if need be, he could go to Moscow.

When Kirill Podrabinek came out of the Elektrostal police station he was met at the door by KGB Investigator Belov, who had arrived from Moscow. The condition of Kirill’s departure remained unchanged, Belov said, and gave him three days in which to persuade his brother to agree to leave.

From that day onwards, KGB employees began trailing Kirill Podrabinek . (His brother Alexander had been under a similar “escort” since 10 October 1977, see below). The same day 22 Muscovites issued a statement:

“Wishing to force Alexander Podrabinek to leave the country, the KGB is openly blackmailing him with his brother’s fate. A method of hostage-taking used thus far only by irresponsible criminal-terrorists is in the present case being adopted as a weapon by the official representatives of a powerful State. This blackmail clearly demonstrates the value of the charges brought against Kirill Podrabinek. “We call upon our fellow countrymen and world public opinion to protest against the use of hostage-taking, unprecedented in the practice of civilized states. We call upon our fellow countrymen and world public opinion to follow attentively the fate of the Podrabinek family.”

On 28 December Kirill Podrabinek made a statement:

State Terrorism

“… The KGB has resorted to hostage-taking. My brother Alexander has made a statement for the press saying that he does not wish to leave, but he will leave if I so demand. “Under no circumstances will I make this demand of Alexander. In the first place, that would mean becoming a blind instrument of blackmail in the hands of the KGB, exploiting a situation created by them for my own sake. In the second place, it is impossible for me to even ask, let alone demand such a thing. “However, I have resolved to pursue my chosen line of action and try to obtain permission to leave.”

On the evening of 29 December 1977, Kirill Podrabinek was arrested.

On the day of his arrest, he declared a hunger strike. After a few days he was transferred from Elektrostal to Moscow, to the MVD’s detention centre on Matrosskaya Tishina Street.

The first response to Kirill’s arrest was “The Christmas ‘Feat’ of the KGB”, a short article by Victor Nekipelov [note 2]:

“… The arrest of Kirill Podrabinek is an act of deliberate, demonstrative revenge. The authorities know full well that they are thereby dealing the severest blow to both Alexander Podrabinek – Take that for not accepting our offer! – and to his father — While you didn’t steer your sons to a compromise!”

On 1 January 1978, Yevgeny Nikolayev (see “In the Psychiatric Hospitals”, CCE 48.12 ) sent a letter to the RSFSR Procurator’s Office, protesting against the arrest of Kirill Podrabinek.

On 4 January 1978, Alexander and Pinkhos Podrabinek asked Belov for a meeting with Kirill.

Belov refused but promised to pass Kirill a note from them, “if there are no objections on the part of the investigator”. In the note Alexander and his father asked Kirill: “Do you agree to leave if there is no need to ask Alexander to do the same?”

On the same day, at 11.30 pm, Belov came to Elektrostal to see Pinkhos Podrabinek . He informed him that the investigator “had not allowed” the note to be passed to Kirill. If Alexander handed in his application to emigrate within three days, however, all three could leave the USSR. Otherwise, Alexander  would also be arrested. Belov suggested that P.A. Podrabinek go at once to Moscow and persuade Alexander to change his mind: he even gave Pinkhos Abramovich a lift back to Moscow in his car.

On 5 January 1978, Alexander Podrabinek appealed in an open letter to Amnesty International, calling on the organisation to speak out in Kirill’s defence.

On 9 January Alexander Podrabinek telephoned Belov at the KGB. When Belov asked if he intended to leave, Alexander replied that he could only decide this matter together with his brother.

On 15 January 1978, the Christian Committee for the Defence of Believers’ Rights in the USSR called upon “world public opinion” to speak out in defence of Kirill Podrabinek and condemn the policy of hostage-taking.

At the beginning of February 1978, the Podrabineks were summoned to Elektrostal for interrogation in connection with Kirill’s case.

Pinkhos Podrabinek replied to questions about Kirill but refused to sign a record of the interrogation. Alexander declined to answer questions, stating that the case was inspired by the KGB and was being conducted with violations of norms laid down in the Code of Criminal Procedure.


From 10 October 1977, Alexander Podrabinek was under constant KGB surveillance. Round the clock he was pursued by two cars carrying seven or eight employees of the security services.

Whenever he was inside a building the cars stood in front of the doorway. Whenever he walked along the street or travelled in public transport there were always several agents at his side. They threatened Alexander’s acquaintances and took photographs of them. Sometimes they interfered more actively with the life of their charge: on Sunday 18 December the escort prohibited Alexander from going skiing with friends in the Orekhovo-Borisovo district [Moscow Region]. Podrabinek wrote about this incident to [KGB chairman] Andropov:

“… Since 10 October of this year I have been under the continuous and unconcealed observation of our glorious Chekists. Defending the State’s security, I understand, it is essential for the KGB to search my home, call me as a witness in the case of Yury Orlov, suggest that I leave the USSR, blackmail me, make an attempt on my brother’s life, and do much else to ensure that I do not, accidentally, undermine the foundations of the Soviet political and social system. All this I understand. “I am not even particularly annoyed when one of the eight officers who perpetually watch over me swears he will break my legs or push me under a train. I understand the full difficulty of this highly complex, responsible and dangerous work and do not get angry with these heroic young people who, performing their civic duty, freeze on cold December nights outside the entrance to my house or squeeze after me onto a city bus in the rush-hour. I am enraptured by their daring, their persistence and their indifference to the cold … “Citizen Andropov! On behalf of myself and six of my friends I beg you: Provide your employees with skis and toboggans and, please, teach them how to use them, if they do not know. Then I shall be able to enjoy my on Sundays and the KGB will be able to work normally and not violate the Soviet Constitution. This can only enhance the reputation of our valiant organs and promote their physical development.”

From January 1978, the constant “escort” was replaced from time to time by ‘ordinary’ shadowing.

The security services are trying by any means to prevent Alexander Podrabinek from continuing his activities on the Working Commission (to Investigate the Use of Psychiatry for Political Purposes). In particular, they are hampering him from meeting, in the flats of his Moscow friends, people who have been subjected to “psychiatric persecution” and their relatives. Podrabinek and his friend Dmitry Leontyev , in whose flat he was living, were fined for violating the city residence regulations. Podrabinek was forbidden to continue residing at the flat.

Alexander Podrabinek was warned that he was liable to be charged with “parasitism”. In February 1978, having given his shadow the slip, he managed to get a job as a medical orderly (he is a qualified paramedic).

The pre-trial investigation of Kirill Podrabinek ’s case was completed in February 1978.


[1] Representatives of all 35 member-States of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) assembed in the Yugoslav capital Belgrade to discuss the implementation of the 1975 Helsinki Accords five years on.

[2] Victor Nekipelov

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A Russian oligarch's megayacht seized by the US is costing taxpayers a fortune, and the government is desperate to sell

  • A Russian oligarch's seized megayacht is costing US taxpayers $922,000 a month, a court filing says.
  • Officials said last month it costs $600,000 — but there's also insurance and dry-docking fees.
  • Another Russian billionaire is claiming ownership of the yacht and opposing attempts to sell it.

Insider Today

A Russian oligarch's megayacht is costing taxpayers almost $1 million a month after the government seized it, court filings say.

US officials say the $300-million Amadea is owned by Suleiman Kerimov , a sanctioned Russian billionaire. It has a helipad, a swimming pool, and a movie theater on board.

The 348-foot vessel was first seized by authorities in Fiji in April 2022. It's now docked in San Diego, but the government wants to sell it due to huge maintenance costs.

Related stories

Last month, an assistant chief in the US Marshals Service said the Amadea was costing the government about $600,000 a month .

That's made up of $360,000 for crew salaries; $75,000 for fuel; and $165,000 for maintenance, waste removal, food for the crew, and miscellaneous expenses.

But a Friday court filing seen by Business Insider says there are actually even more costs that bring the total monthly bill up to $922,000.

It costs $144,000 to insure the megayacht, and dry-docking fees of $178,000 a month, the filing says.

The legal battle over the Amadea involves another Russian billionaire, Eduard Khudainatov, who claims he, not Kerimov, is the owner of the yacht.

Lawyers for Khudainatov, who is not sanctioned, have objected to the government's attempts to sell the Amadea.

According to CNBC, which first reported on Friday's filing, Khudainatov has offered to reimburse the government for the $20 million it has already spent maintaining the yacht if it's returned to him.

However, as long as the government continues trying to sell the Amadea, he won't pay the costs, CNBC reported.

Watch: Putin's $51 billion Sochi plan blew up in his face

abramovic oligarch yacht

  • Main content

Jewish Encyclopedia of Russia Surnames starting with the letter P

Translated by josif and vitaly charny.

The following list is a translation of names and minimal personal data for 8,500 people included in Jewish Encyclopedia of Russia (Rossiyskaya Evreiskaya Entsiclopediya); first edition; 1995, Moscow.

Famous people who are listed in the book, which in fact is a biographical dictionary, were born in Russia, the USSR, the Russian Empire, or lived there. This is the first edition of this kind in Russia and a large group of specialists from Russia, Israel and other countries participated in the project.

There are many more well known people in Russia to be included in the next edition of the book. We have to remember that the success of many of these people was achieved against all odds related to limited opportunities that Jews had in Russia.

The translation is an attempt to inform people about this additional source available for researchers.

Vitaly Charny

A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H   I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q   R    S    T    U    V    W    X   Y    Z   

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Norilsk: The city built by gulag prisoners where Russia guards its Arctic secrets

Environmental activists are frustrated by how authorities handled a diesel spill which poured into two Arctic rivers in late May.

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International correspondent @DiMagnaySky

Friday 3 July 2020 23:41, UK

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Arctic suffers worst ever industrial spill

The drive from Norilsk airport to the city takes you past mile after mile of crumbling, Soviet-era factories.

It looks like an endless, rusting scrapyard - a jumble of pipes, industrial junk and frost-bitten brickwork. If you were looking for an industrial apocalypse film setting, this would be your place - but you're unlikely to get the permissions.

Norilsk was built in Stalin's times by gulag prisoners. This gritty industrial city is a testament to their endurance both of the cruelty of Stalin's regime and of the harsh polar climate. There were no thoughts then on how to build to protect the environment, just to survive it.

Norilsk in Russia. Pic: Anastasya Leonova

Vasily Ryabinin doesn't think much has changed, at least in ecological terms. He used to work for the local branch of the federal environmental watchdog, Rosprirodnadzor, but quit in June after exposing what he says was a failure to investigate properly the environmental impact of the gigantic diesel spill which poured into two Arctic rivers in late May.

At 21,000 tonnes, it was the largest industrial spill in the polar Arctic .

Despite the Kremlin declaring a federal emergency and sending a host of different agencies to participate in the clean-up, just last week Mr Ryabinin and activists from Greenpeace Russia found another area where technical water used in industrial processes was being pumped directly into the tundra from a nearby tailing pond. Russia's investigative committee has promised to investigate.

"The ecological situation here is so bad," Mr Ryabinin says.

"The latest constructions such as the tailing pond at the Talnack ore-processing plant were built exclusively by Nornickel chief executive Vladimir Potanin's team and supposedly in accordance with ecological standards, but on satellite images you can see that all the lakes in the vicinity have unnatural colours and obviously something has got into them."

Nornickel Plant and container (on the left) which had the leak. Pic: Anastasya Leonova

Mining company Nornickel would disagree. It has admitted flagrant violations at the tailing pond and suspended staff it deems responsible at both the Talnack plant and at Norilsk Heat and Power plant no 3 where the diesel spill originated from.

On Thursday it appointed Andrey Bougrov, from its senior management board, to the newly-created role of senior vice president for environmental protection. It has a clear environmental strategy, provides regular updates on the status of the spill, and its Twitter feed is filled with climate-related alerts.

But what investors read is very different to the picture on the ground.

21,000 tonnes of diesel oil has spilled into two rivers in Norilsk

Norilsk used to be a closed city - one of dozens across the Soviet Union shut off to protect industrial secrets. Foreigners need special permissions approved by the Federal Security Service (FSB) to enter the region. It would take an invitation from Nornickel to make that happen and, for the past month since the spill, that has not been forthcoming.

Unlike in Soviet times, Russian citizens are now free to come and go. That's why our Sky News Moscow team were able to fly in and travel around the city, even if getting to the spill site was blocked. What they were able to film provides a snapshot of the immense challenge Russia faces in upgrading its Soviet-era industrial infrastructure, particularly at a time when climate change is melting the permafrost on which much of it was built.

The Russian city of Norilsk. Pic: Anastasya Leonova

Just downwind from one of the rusting factories on the city outskirts is a huge expanse of dead land. The skeletal remains of trees stand forlorn against the howling Arctic winds. Sulphur dioxide poisoning has snuffed the life out of all that lived here. Norilsk is the world's worst emitter of sulphur dioxide by a substantial margin.

"For 80km south of here everything is dead," Mr Ryabinin says, "and for at least 10km in that direction too. Everything here depends on the wind."

Sample took by Vasily Ryabinin near the Nornickel plant in Norilsk, Russia, on the day of an accident. Pic: Vasily Ryabinin

Immediately after the spill, Mr Ryabinin filmed and took samples from the Daldykan river just a few kilometres from the fuel tank which had leaked. By that point the river was a churning mix of diesel and red sludge dredged up from the riverbed by the force of the leak. Norilsk's rivers have turned red before and the chemical residues have sunk to the bottom, killing all life there. Nothing has lived in those rivers for decades.

In his capacity as deputy head of the local environmental watchdog, Mr Ryabinin says he insisted that he be allowed to fly further north to check the levels of contamination in Lake Pyasino and beyond.

Nornickel at the time claimed the lake was untouched by the spill. Mr Ryabinin says his boss encouraged him to let things be.

"I can't be sure I would have found anything, but this sort of confrontation - making sure I didn't go there with a camera, let alone with bottles for taking samples, it was all very clear to me. It was the final straw."

Rosprirodnadzor refused to comment to Sky News on Mr Ryabinin's allegations or suggestions that the agency was working hand in hand with Nornickel.

The Nornickel plant and the place where diesel meets red water (polluted by other chemicals). Pic: Vasily Ryabinin

Georgy Kavanosyan is an environmental blogger with a healthy 37,000 following on YouTube. Shortly after the spill, he set out for Lake Pyasino and to the Pyasina River beyond to see how far the diesel had spread.

"We set out at night so that the Norilsk Nickel security wouldn't detect us. I say at night, but they've got polar nights there now, north of the Arctic Circle. So it's still light but it's quieter and we managed to go past all the cordons."

He is one of the few to have provided evidence that the diesel has in fact travelled far beyond where the company admits. Not just the 1,200km (745m) length of Lake Pyasino but into the river beyond.

He says his measurements indicated a volume of hydrocarbons dissolved in the water of between two and three times normal levels. He thinks after he published his findings on YouTube, the authorities' vigilance increased.

Greenpeace Russia have spent the last two weeks trying to obtain samples from Lake Pyasino and the surrounding area. They have faced difficulties getting around and flying their samples out for independent analysis.

They are now waiting for results from a laboratory in St Petersburg but say the samples remain valid technically for just four days after collection and that they weren't able to make that deadline due to the authorities' actively obstructing their work.

Vasily Ryabinin and Elena Sakirko from Greenpeace. Pic: Anastasya Leonova

Elena Sakirko from Greenpeace Russia specialises in oil spills and says this has happened to her before. This time, a police helicopter flew to the hunter's hut where they were staying and confiscated the fuel for the boat they were using. Then a deputy for the Moscow city parliament tasked with bringing the samples back from Norilsk was forced to go back empty-handed.

"We were told at the airport we needed permission from the security department of Nornickel," Ms Sakirko says. "We asked them to show us some law or statement to prove that this was legal or what the basis for this was, but they haven't showed us anything and we still don't understand it."

Nornickel announced this week that the critical stage of the diesel spill is over. The company is now finalising dates for a press tour for foreign media and for other international environmentalists.

Mr Ryabinin thinks this should have happened weeks ago.

"If we don't let scientists come to the Arctic region to evaluate the impact of the accident, then in the future if anything similar happens, we won't know what to do."

A spokesperson for Nornickel said the company "is actively cooperating with the scientific community and will meticulously assess both the causes and effects of the accident."

The Russian city of Norilsk. Pic: Anastasya Leonova

Nornickel considers permafrost thawing to be the primary cause of the accident, but is waiting for the end of investigation before making a final statement, the spokesperson said.

They added that the company "accepts full responsibility for the incidents on its sites these past two months and holds itself accountable for any infrastructural deficits or poor decisions by personnel.

"The imperative is to do everything to clean up our sites, instil a stronger culture of transparency and safety in our workforce, and ensure that such situations do not occur in the future."

Rupert Murdoch, nearly 93, is engaged for the fifth time—and his fiancée is the ex-wife of a Russian billionaire oligarch

Rupert Murdoch

Media magnate Rupert Murdoch, who turns 93 next week, has been married four times — and is engaged again, his representative said Saturday.

He plans to marry Elena Zhukova, 67, a Russian-born retired scientist he met last year.

Her ex-husband Alexander Zhukov is a billionaire energy investor and Russian politician. Their daughter Dasha was previously married to Russian  billionaire Roman Abramovich , who used to own the Premier League football club Chelsea.

Last fall Murdoch  stepped down  as leader of both Fox News’ parent company and his News Corp. media holdings — and his son, Lachlan, took his place in a media empire that spans continents and  helped to shape modern American politics .

In 1952, Murdoch inherited a newspaper in his native Australia from his father. Over decades, he built a news and entertainment enterprise that became dominant in the United States and Britain, including ownership of such historic newspapers as The Times of London and The Wall Street Journal.

Fox News Channel, the 24-hour network founded in 1996, has profoundly influenced television, becoming a trusted news source among many conservative U.S. audiences and politicians.

It has also had very public struggles. Last year, it  paid $787 million to settle  a defamation lawsuit related to its coverage of false claims about the 2020 presidential election results.

A few months earlier, Fox had  ousted prime-time host Tucker Carlson , the network’s most popular TV personality, whose political theories and fiery commentaries made him an influential force in GOP politics.

In addition to Fox News, Rupert Murdoch started the Fox broadcast network, the first to successfully challenge the Big Three of ABC, CBS and NBC, with shows like “The Simpsons.” He has also controlled the New York Post, another popular conservative outlet.

Murdoch has been married four times and shares six children with three of his wives. Murdoch’s family were said to be the  model for the HBO drama  “  Succession .” The family’s wealth is estimated by Forbes to be about $19 billion.

Murdoch’s latest marriage , to model and actor Jerry Hall, ended in divorce after six years in 2022. They had no children together.

Previously, he was married to Patricia Booker, an Australian, with whom he had Prudence, and then to Scottish-born journalist Anna Torv, with whom he had  Lachlan, James and Elisabeth . These four Murdoch children have the same stake in the family trust and an equal say in what happens to the trust’s voting stock upon Murdoch’s death. He later married Chinese-born Wendi Deng, whom he divorced in 2013 after having two daughters, Grace and Chloe.

Last spring he was engaged to Ann Lesley Smith for about two weeks.

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  27. P

    Birth place. Death date. Death place. Occupation. aka (other name) Entry number. Where Once We Walked. The Belarus SIG, established in 1998, promotes Jewish genealogy research in Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev and Vitebsk Gubernias as well as the Lida and Vileika uyzeds (districts) of Vilna Gubernia. This is the JewishGen page for the Belarus SIG.

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    Tiếng Việt. Winaray. 中文. ) is a city in Moscow Oblast. It is 58 kilometers (36 mi) east of . As of 2010, 155,196 people lived there. Krasnogorsky. Lotoshinsky. Lukhovitsky.