Oligarch exes facing social Siberia
11th March 2022

Oligarch exes facing social Siberia: Gallery run by Abramovich’s ex-wife Dasha is deserted by artists and his ballerina love interest decries the war – but TV star given a mansion by Andrey Kostin posts about shopping on Insta

  • Wives and exes of oligarchs sanctioned by UK risk being cast out of social circles embarrassed by their ties
  • Abramovich’s third wife, Dasha Zhukova, is already experiencing a backlash, with the Moscow gallery she co-founded with her billionaire ex coming under fire for not going far enough in its condemnation of Putin
  • Others including Alexei Miller’s wife and a woman rumoured to have dated Andrey Kostin are unlikely to care

Multi-million pound mansions, private jets and diamonds the size of small ice skating rinks. Such is the life of grotesque luxury enjoyed by the women on the arms of Russia’s most powerful men.

But now these oligarch wives, girlfriends and exes face the unenviable task of navigating their way through the seismic scandal swirling around their former beaus, who have had sanctions placed on them by the UK Government.

Chelsea FC owner Mr Abramovich and six others yesterday had their assets frozen and were hit by a travel ban as part of new measures designed to put pressure on the Russian president’s inner circle amid ongoing atrocities in Ukraine. 

As Femail reported, the move threatens to put an end to the charmed life of Abramovich’s adult children, who might soon be struggling for party invites as the great and the good seek to distance themselves from Russian ties. But it is not just the oligarch offspring who face being relegated so the social Z-list. 

The same fate could befall their current and former wives and girlfriends. Indeed Abramovich’s third wife, Dasha Zhukova, is already experiencing a backlash. The Moscow gallery she co-founded with her billionaire ex came under fire for not going far enough in its condemnation of Putin, while artists have cancelled their shows, Vanity Fair reported.  

There is a whole web of women surrounding the other six oligarchs on the sanction list, including Nailya Asker-Zade, a pro-Russian journalist who reportedly received property and a 200ft yacht from her banker lover, Andrey Kostin. She continues to post about shopping and makeup on Instagram, apparently unperturbed by what is going on. 

Then there is Olga Rozhkova, who was married to Igor Sechin, Chief Executive of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, and Oleg Deripaska’s socialite ex-wife Polina Deripaska. Among the few current partners is Marina Yentaltseva, wife of Alexei Miller, CEO of energy company Gazprom. 

Under fire: Roman Abramovich’s third wife, Dasha Zhukova, pictured, has experienced a backlash since the war broke out, largely targeted at the Moscow gallery she and the oligarch co-founded

Joint project: Dasha, who lives in New York, is editor-in-chief of avant garde fashion magazine POP and co-founder of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, which she and Abramovich founded in 2007 as the leading hub for Russian artists. She remains involved in the museum today. Pictured, Abramovich and Dasha at an event in 2017. They split that year


Web of women: There is a web of women surrounding the other six oligarchs on the sanction list, including Nailya Asker-Zade (left), a journalist who reportedly received property and a 200ft yacht from her banker beau. Right, Diana Vishneva, prima ballerina at St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, who was previously linked to Abramovich, spoke out against the war

Connections: There were reports of a relationship between Diana Vishneva and Abramovich (pictured) but this was denied

Paying off: In 2019, it was reported that Azerbaijan-born Nailya, 34, a presenter of state television, had received lavish gifts from Kostin, chairman of VTB Bank, over a number of years. The relationship is said to have resulted in the glamorous Ms Asker-Zade receiving a number of properties, including a £3 million mansion near Moscow in 2015, as well as a 200ft yacht

The best known of the oligarch women is Dasha, 40, an art collector who was married to Abramovich for nine years until 2017. She is mother to the youngest of his seven children, son Aaron, 12, and daughter Leah Lou, eight.

Now married to billionaire shipping heir Stavros Niarchos, Dasha is part of a glittering social circle including Diane von Furstenberg, YouTube’s head of fashion and beauty Derek Blasberg and jeweller to the stars Jennifer Meyer.  

Dasha, who lives in New York, is editor-in-chief of avant garde fashion magazine POP and co-founder of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, which she and Abramovich founded in 2007 as the leading hub for Russian artists. She remains involved in the museum today. 

Since the war began, Dasha, whose father Alexander Zhukov is tied to the ownership of a number of oil and gas companies operating in the Black Sea, and Garage have issued statements distancing herself from Abramovich and the other oligarchs.

On February 26, Garage posted a statement in English and Russian that read: ‘The team at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art has decided to stop work on all exhibitions until the human and political tragedy that is unfolding in Ukraine has ceased. We cannot support the illusion of normality when such events are taking place.

‘Garage has always been an international institution open to a plurality of voices. We are categorically opposed to any and all actions that sow division and create isolation. We see ourselves as part of a wider world undivided by war.


Glitzy friends: Oleg Deripaska’s socialite ex-wife Polina Deripaska, pictured with old friend Dasha (left) and in 2015

By his side: Marina Yentaltseva, wife of Alexei Miller, CEO of energy company Gazprom. Pictured, the couple in 2017


Glamorous: Olga Rozhkova, who was married to Igor Sechin, Chief Executive of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company (left). Right, Miller’s wife Marina Yentaltseva, who has been pictured with her husband’s friend Vladimir Putin

Abramovich’s first wife: Roman with Olga, who he met when he was 20 and she was a 23-year-old daughter of a government diplomat. She remains tight-lipped and out of the spotlight and has no children with her ex-husband

Second wife: Abramovich’s second wife, Irina, a London-based former Aeroflot stewardess who wed the Russian tycoon in 1991. The pair share five children and she lives in a sprawling estate he bought in West Sussex


Defiant: Journalist Ms Asker-zade, who is rumoured to have had a relationship with Kostin. She remaining defiantly pro-Kremlin in the face of the war in Ukraine

‘We will fulfil our obligations to the artists whose projects are being postponed and who have worked with us with trust and enthusiasm. We thank Anne Imhof, Helen Marten, Saodat Ismailova, Heimo Zobernig, their studios and galleries, and the lenders of works for the Lydia Masterkova exhibition for their support, and we hope for an immediate end to the conflict.’

The following day Dasha shared a statement with the New York Post that said: ‘The brutal and horrific invasion taken by Russia against Ukraine is shameful. As someone born in Russia, I unequivocally condemn these acts of war, and I stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people as well as with the millions of Russians who feel the same way.’

Who’s who? The seven oligarchs sanctioned by the UK yesterday 

Roman Abramovich is one of seven Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the UK Government yesterday. 

The Government estimates his wealth at more than £9billion and notes his stakes in steel giant Evraz, Norilsk Nickel and ownership of Chelsea FC. 

The other oligarchs sanctioned today are: 

  • Oleg Deripaska: Estimated wealth of £2billion and a multi-million-pound Uk property portfolio. Subject to US sanctions since 2018. Has stakes in En+ Group, a major extractives and energy company which owns UC Rusal, one of the world’s major aluminium producers.
  • Igor Sechin: Chief Executive of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company. The Government said he is ‘particularly close and influential ally of Putin’. Already sanctioned by the US and EU.
  • Andrey Kostin: Chairman of VTB bank, the second largest bank in Russia. A ‘close associate of Putin’ who has ‘long supported Kremlin objectives through VTB Bank’. Net worth of £379 million. Already sanctioned by the US and EU.
  • Alexei Miller: Chief executive of energy company Gazprom. Served under Putin when autocrat was mayor of St Petersburg. Already sanctioned by the US.
  • Nikolai Tokarev: President of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft. Former KGB agent who served alongside Putin in East Germany. Already sanctioned by the US and EU.
  • Dmitri Lebedev: Chairman of Bank Rossiya, which is ‘widely considered to be the Kremlin’s private bank’. Sanctioned by the US in 2016.

Yet the official Garage statement did not go far enough for some insiders in the art world, Vanity Fair noted. 

American curator and writer Alison M. Gingeras posted the statement to her Instagram account and added in the caption: ‘Nothing less than a full throated denunciation of Putin and his oligarch enablers is acceptable. 

‘A tyrannical state is attacking a democracy. Citizens fleeing, leaving behind entire lives. PR tiptoeing double speak and whitewashing @dasha & @garagemca is B******T. F**K PUTIN. Slava Ukraini!’

Artists due to show at Garage have also pulled out in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Turner Prize winner Helen Marten has cancelled her show, as has Anne Imhof.  

Elsewhere Diana Vishneva, prima ballerina at St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, who was previously linked to Abramovich, spoke out against the war on Instagram.

There were rumours of a connection between the pair in 2018, although a relationship was dismissed by Abramovich’s spokesperson at the time. 

‘Vishneva, who has a son, was vocal in her condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine, writing: ‘We express our opposition to war and any violent action. 

‘Sorrow, regret, words of support and sympathy fill our hearts. All you can think about and ask for now is for the world to be restored.’ 

Abramovich’s first and second wives are not thought to have commented on the situation. 

Second wife Irina, the mother of his five eldest children, continues to live in the sprawling West Sussex estate she was given in the divorce.   

Their daughter Sofia, 27, has also spoken out against the war and Putin. 

Last week Sofia posted an image on Instagram Stories showing the phrase ‘Russia wants a war with Ukraine’, with the word Russia crossed out and replaced with ‘Putin’. 

A second post read: ‘The biggest and most successful lie of Kremlin’s propaganda is that most Russians stand with Putin.’ She also shared an image of Putin with a red line across him. 

However it would appear some of the women connected to the oligarchs are unfazed by the association. 

Among them is journalist Nailya Asker-Zade is the rumoured one-time girlfriend of sanctioned banker Andrey Kostin.

Kostin has close ties to President Vladimir Putin and previously described sanctions against Russia as ‘economic war’. He is widely seen as a close associate of Putin.  

Moving on: Dasha and her billionaire shipping heir husband Stavros Niarchos, 36, pictured left in 2018 welcomed their first child together, Philip Stavros Niarchos, in March last year. She shares two children, Aaron Alexander and Leah Lou (right in a photo shared by Blasberg), with ex Roman Abramovich

Famous friends: Dasha with jeweller to the stars Jennifer Meyer in a post shared to mark her 40th birthday last year


Best friends: Fashion insider Blasberg shared a series of sweet images of Dasha (pictured) to mark her 40th birthday

In 2019, it was reported that Azerbaijan-born Nailya, 34, a presenter of state television, had received lavish gifts from Kostin, chairman of VTB Bank, over a number of years. 

The relationship is said to have resulted in the glamorous Ms Asker-Zade receiving a number of properties, including a £3 million mansion near Moscow in 2015, as well as a 200ft yacht. 

At the time, Russia’s communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, had blocked more than 1,000 publications about his relationship with Ms Asker-zade, with whom he has been photographed on several occasions, The Times reported.  

It is not known whether Kostin and Ms Asker-zade are still together. But the journalist is remaining defiantly pro-Kremlin in the face of the war in Ukraine. 

She has taken to Instagram in recent days to urge followers not to despair if global brands continue to pull out of the country.  


Speaking out: With her Instagram post earlier last week (right), 27-year-old Sofia Abramovich joined a chorus of other wealthy Russian who have expressed their disgust at Putin’s actions 

In a recent Instagram post, she wrote: ‘Went to the MAC on Friday to buy shadows, talked to a girl consultant, she assured: “We work and do not close”. I said: “Mango employees probably also wanted to work yesterday, but today they were closed”. And now it’s the turn of cosmetics. The American company Estee Lauder, which owns such brands as MAC Cosmetics and Clinique, has announced the suspension of its activities in Russia…

‘I was already joking on my TV channel about the revival of the shuttle community from Turkey. Fortunately, instead of Cherkizon there are shopping malls. And seriously, for example, the Japanese company Uniqlo remains in Russia. The loss of a market like ours is a significant blow to business for many.’ 

Meanwhile Marina Yentaltseva, wife of Alexei Miller, CEO of energy company Gazprom, is likely to remain steadfast in the face of any public criticism. Marina has been photographed with Putin on a number of occasions.  

Other women who could be affected include Sechin’s ex Olga Rozhkova and Deripaska’s ex Polina. Neither are thought to have released statements and are not active on social media. 

Roman Abramovich and Oleg Deripaska’s FROZEN fortunes: From £3BN Chelsea FC, luxury superyachts, country estates and Mayfair ‘crash pads’… Russian oligarchs’ multi-billion pound assets now sanctioned by UK

    By Martin Robinson for MailOnline 

    Roman Abramovich yesterday had at least £3.2billion of UK assets frozen, preventing him carrying out a fire sale of Chelsea FC and his London homes.    

    Abramovich is worth £10.4bn ($12.5bn), according to Forbes, and owns a £150m Kensington mansion, a £22m West London penthouse, and more than £1.2bn of yachts, private jets, helicopters and supercars based in Britain and around the world. 

    Also on the new sanctions list is Oleg Deripaska, once Russia’s richest man and named in Parliament as one of President Putin’s most loyal oligarchs giving him a net worth of between £2billion and £3.2billion. Deripaska, who once famously entertained Blairite spin doctor Lord Mandelson on his yacht, is understood to own a £50million ‘crashpad’ property on Belgrave Square in London.

    He is also rumoured to have properties in nearby Eaton Square and a Surrey mansion, although the oil tycoon does not appear on the titles.  

    Also on the sanctions list Igor Sechin, chief executive of Russian oil company Rosneft, Andrey Kostin, chairman of VTB bank, Alexei Miller, chief executive of energy giant Gazprom, Nikolai Tokarev, president of Russian state-owned pipeline company Transneft and Dmitri Lebedev, chairman of the board of directors at Bank Rossiya.

    Due to the habitual use of offshore companies to buy properties, it is not yet clear what assets they own in the UK, if any, but they are all banned from visiting the UK or its territories. 

    Roman Abramovich now cannot sell any of his UK assets without a special licence, which are near impossible to get. Any cash he holds in the UK are now frozen in accounts if he has not been able to transfer funds abroad, while his shares on the London Stock Exchange cannot be sold and will pay no dividends.   

    Chelsea FC is his most valuable British asset, after the oligarch transformed its fortunes from outside challengers to Premier League giants with the help of Jose Mourinho and huge signings like Didier Drogba. 

    But now he has been prohibited from transactions with UK individuals and businesses – meaning his plan to sell the West London club looks impossible. It could still go through provided the Government issues a licence if he asks for one, with lawyers claiming he would have to prove he would not benefit from the sale.

    Effective immediately, Chelsea is banned from selling match tickets, signing new players and must even close its club shop. Shirt sponsor Three is already considering walking away from their £40million shirt deal.

    In London, over the past fortnight his staff are said to have been ready for viewings at his 15-bedroom mansion at Kensington Palace Gardens, valued at more than £150m, and a three-storey penthouse at Chelsea Waterfront, worth an estimated £22m. These now cannot be sold off and cannot be rented unless tenants are already in.

    Abramovich is worth £10.4bn ($12.5bn), according to Forbes, and owns a £150m Kensington mansion, a £22m penthouse, and more than £1.2bn of yachts, private jets, helicopters and supercars based in Britain and around the world. He now cannot sell any of them


    Oligarchs with the links to the UK include Roman Abramovich and Oleg Deripaska (picturedright), who was once Russia’s richest man

    Deripaska has a home in Belgrave Square and is also rumoured to have a home at nearby Eaton Square and a Surrey mansion

    His two superyachts may already be out of reach. £430million Solaris was moored in Barcelona a week ago but is now off the Sicily coast, believed to be heading to Israel, where he holds citizenship. The £540million Eclipse is currently in open sea off the coast of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.

    The billionaire recently bought a £264m Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner jet. The 50-seater aircraft is the world’s most expensive private jet with a base cost of £188m and a rumoured £76m of additional equipment to the billionaire’s taste, Forbes reported, citing industry sources. It was last tracked to Dubai six days ago. Meanwhile, his £50m Gulfstream G650ER jet – registration LX-Ray – was last seen in Ankara, Turkey, five days ago. 

    His £80m private jet nicknamed The Bandit, left Stansted Airport on February 25 – the day before a blanket ban on Russian aircraft in EU and UK airspace was imposed. It then landed in Switzerland. It is not clear if he or any of his family were on board.

    He also owns a fleet of supercars valued at more than £16million, believed to be in the UK. Among the high end vehicles are a Porsche 911 GT1 Evo, a Ferrari FXX, a Aston Martin Vulcan and a Maserati MC12 Corsa. The fleet also includes a Pagani Zonda R, of which only 15 have ever been produced and come with a price tag of £2.5m. 

    Abramovich has seven children from two of his ex-wives. The eldest, Anna, 29, is a Columbia University philosophy graduate who lives in New York, while Arkadiy, 27, is an industrial tycoon with substantial oil and gas investments. 

    Sofia, 26, lives in London and the ‘wild child’ ‘of the family, recently posted a message on Instagram attacking Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. Less is known about Arina, 20, and Ilya, 18, or Aaron, 11 and Leah Lou, 7, who were both born in New York to his third wife, Dasha. 

    Abramovich’s current location is unknown, but he has recently been in Belarus ‘trying to help’ negotiate an end to Russia’s war against Ukraine following its illegal invasion of the country.   

    As pressure grows to punish anyone seen having aided Putin’s regime, here is a round-up of Abramovich’s assets in Britain, as well as yachts, cars and planes that are strewn across the world. 

    End of the charmed life for Roman Abramovich’s seven children? Billionaire’s brood enjoy jet-set holiday and live in million-pound homes – but those party invites are bound to dry up after sanctions 

    Roman Abramovich was hit with an asset freeze and a travel ban under new sanctions unveiled yesterday, bringing an abrupt end to the glittering life he has enjoyed in the UK. 

    But it also threatens to upend the fantastically gilded existence enjoyed by his seven children, who live in multi-million pound homes and ultra-luxe holidays but might soon find themselves struggling to gain invites to society events, parties and jet-set holidays due to their father’s reputation. 

    Best known of the 55-year-old billionaire’s brood is glamorous Sofia, 27, a Royal Holloway graduate and equestrian who has partied with the Beckhams and the Ramsays. She is the third of three children from Abramovich’s second marriage to former flight attendant Irina, alongside Anna, 30, a philosophy graduate who lives in the US, budding businessman Arkadiy, 28, and siblings Arina, 21, and Ilya, 19, who prefer to stay out of the spotlight. 

    Abramovich also has two children from his marriage to third wife, Dasha Zhukova. Son Aaron, 12, and daughter Leah Lou, eight, live with their mother in New York. 

    Sofia’s Instagram feed is full of snaps of holidays to Ibiza, the Maldives and St Barts, where Abramovich has a 70-acre estate. Others have her training for or taking part in showjumping competitions; she represented Russia in London in 2014.

    Sofia splits her time between London and the family’s 425-acre Fyning Hill Estate in Petersfield, West Sussex, which was given to Irina as part of her divorce settlement, as well as £150million in cash.


    Roman’s golden girl: Roman Abramovich was hit with an asset freeze and a travel ban under new sanctions unveiledbringing an abrupt end to the glittering life he has enjoyed in the UK. But it also threatens to upend the fantastically gilded existence enjoyed by his seven children, including his glamorous daughter Sofia, 27, pictured in snaps shared on Instagram

    Jet-set: Sofia’s Instagram feed is full of snaps of holidays to Ibiza, the Maldives and St Barts, where Abramovich has a 70-acre estate. Others have her training for or taking part in showjumping competitions. Pictured, Sofia (right) at New Years


    Big brood: Eldest daughter Anna (left), who studied philosophy at Columbia University in New York and continues to live in the US, made headlines when she got engaged at 18 (they later split) and previously partied with Calum Best and Ronnie Wood’s son, Jamie. Right, Arkadiy is following in his father’s footsteps and building his own business empire in Russia. At 21, he already has his own investment company, ARA Capital

    Daddy’s girl: Sofia is the third of Abramovich’s seven children. Pictured, the 27-year-old with her billionaire father

    Chelsea FC owner Mr Abramovich, who is worth an estimated £9bn, also owns a £150million Kensington mansion, a £22million West London penthouse, and more than £1.2billion of yachts, private jets, helicopters and supercars based in Britain and around the world. 

    While she is not a regular fixture on the London social scene, Sofia might soon struggle to find friends to invite on her sun-soaked escapes, for fear of being tainted by her father’s ties with Putin. 

    This, perhaps, is partly why she took the unusual step of publicly decrying the Russian invasion.

    Last week Sofia posted an image on Instagram Stories showing the phrase ‘Russia wants a war with Ukraine’, with the word Russia crossed out and replaced with ‘Putin’.  

    A second post read: ‘The biggest and most successful lie of Kremlin’s propaganda is that most Russians stand with Putin.’ She also shared an image of Putin with a red line across him. 

    It remains to be seen whether it will be enough to save Sofia from facing the same fate as Ivana Trump, who was given the cold shoulder by much of New York high society after her father was elected.

    Glamorous Sofia has six siblings and half-siblings from her father’s various marriages. Her mother Irina, a one-time air hostess and Roman’s second wife, was married to him for 16 years and bore him five children: Anna, 30, Arkadiy, 28, Sofia, Arina, 21, and Ilya, 19. 

    Anna, who studied philosophy at Columbia University in New York and continues to live in the US, made headlines when she got engaged at 18 (they later split) and previously partied with Calum Best and Ronnie Wood’s son, Jamie.

    Party girl! Sofia Abramovich is known for her love of a party, including this birthday celebration complete with macaron-covered cake, created by baker Peggy Porschen

    Pride and joy: Roman cuddles Sofia in a photo shared on Instagram. She faces being shut out from social events 


    Sun-seeker: Sofia was born in Russia and moved to England in 2003 with her parents and elder siblings, Anna and Arkadiy. Now the 27-year-old regularly shares photos of her glamorous holidays to St Barts and the Maldives 

    Charmed life at risk? While she is not a regular fixture on the London social scene, Sofia might soon struggle to find friends to invite on her sun-soaked escapes, for fear of being tainted by her father’s ties with Putin

    Meanwhile Arkadiy is following in his father’s footsteps and building his own business empire in Russia. At 21, he already has his own investment company, ARA Capital.

    By the time his divorce from Irina was announced, Roman had been spotted numerous times with the future Mrs Abramovich number three, Darya Zhukova, a former model known as Dasha, with whom he has two children, Aaron, 12, and Leah Lou, eight. The couple divorced in 2017.

    Sofia was born in Russia and moved to England in 2003 with her parents and elder siblings, Anna and Arkadiy. 

    It is thought she attended the £23,531-a-year Godolphin and Latymer private school in West London.

    Her older sister, Anna, said their journeys to school often started with a helicopter flight into a Battersea heliport. A waiting chauffeur-driven car bristling with bodyguards would complete the five-mile journey to the school.

    Indeed, school friends previously noted that Sofia and her siblings never go anywhere without man mountain bodyguards, a provision ordered by their father. 

    As Sofia’s mother confirmed in a very rare interview: ‘My life with Roman was not the fairytale the papers reported. For my security, and that of our children, he hired a group of bodyguards from a protection agency. 

    ‘We changed mobile phone numbers once a week so no one could trace our whereabouts. We were afraid of kidnapping attempts, yet we could not hide our children and not show them real life. 

    ‘So we went to theatres and museums with a crowd of bodyguards. Each year it got harder.’

    The high security treatment continued when Sofia enrolled in a business and management course at Royal Holloway, in Egham, Surrey. 

    She was chauffeur-driven everywhere in Range Rovers, which are reported to be bulletproof. 

    Aside from her studies, Sofia’s idea of heaven is riding her horses. Sofia regularly posts pictures on social media posing with her horses at her own stables, beaming happily as she snuggles them.

    She’s become a fanatical showjumper, riding for Russia at the Longines Global Champions Tour and events in Monaco, too. 

    Her 18th birthday party was a £30,000 extravaganza fit for an heiress. She hired out her own nightclub, invited 500 friends and was serenaded by Scouting For Girls and McBusted. 

    The event was held at the Under The Bridge nightclub at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground, and a clearly delighted Sofia posted a snap with McBusted online afterwards.

    But it is far from the most luxurious bash Sofia has attended. 

    To ring in the New Year in 2016, for example, she joined her mother and younger siblings at their usual haunt: the One & Only Reethi Rah nightclub in the Maldives, the pinnacle of tropical luxury — at an estimated price of £200,000. 

    Sofia partied alongside her celebrity friends, the Beckhams and the Ramsays.  

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