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Sergei Roldugin (Cello)

Sergei Pavlovich Roldugin (born September 28, 1951 Sakhalin) is a Russian cellist and businessman, based in St Petersburg.

He was awarded the 1980 Prague Spring International Music Festival Competition's 3rd prize. In 1984 Roldugin was appointed the Kirov Opera Theatre Orchestra's principal cellist. He subsequently held a professorship at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where he served as the institution's rector from 2002-05. The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra's Guest Conductor, he has been named a People's Artist of Russia.

Since 1990s, Roldugin has been engaged in the oil and media business. He is known for having initiated the renovation of the decayed Alexis Palace as a music school and for having performed at the ruins of Palmyra a month after the site was reconquered from the ISIL. Roldugin plays the Stuart cello made by Antonio Stradivari in 1732; the instrument cost him $12 mln.

Sergei Roldugin is a godfather to Maria Putina, Vladimir Putin's daughter.[6] He has been friends with the Putin since the late 1970s. In March 2016 The Guardian described Roldugin as "Putin's best friend". It was Roldugin who introduced Putin to Lyudmila, his future wife. Roldugin's brother Yevgeny was at KGB training school with Putin.

In connection with the Panama Papers, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project described Roldugin as the "secret caretaker" of Putin's hidden wealth through his participation in transactions between various offshore companies.

Roldugin's first spouse was Irina Nikitina, President of the Musical Olympus Foundation. His current spouse is Elena Mirtova (opera singer, soprano).

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