The Guardian: Putin’s fortune ‘is controlled by a cellist’

The Guardian: Putin’s fortune ‘is controlled by a cellist’


norman lebrecht

April 03, 2016

A major paperchase in tomorrow’s Guardian newspaper (originating at the Süddeutsche Zeitung) claims that a man called Sergei Roldugin holds the key to the Russian president’s billions.

Putin was at KGB training school with Roldugin’s brother Yevgeny. Sergei Rolgudin is director of the St Petersburg House of Music. Roldugin has alwayys maintained that he is but a humble musician.

According to the Marinsky Theatre website:

Sergei Roldugin was born on 28 September 1951 on the island of Sakhalin. At the age of five he began to study the piano and, at the age of eight, he took up the cello. Graduated from the Riga School of Music (1970) and later from the Leningrad Conservatoire (1975, class of Anatoly Nikitin). There he also undertook a trainee assistantship. As a student he joined the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Philharmonic, Honoured Ensemble of Russia.

In 1984 he became first soloist and leader of the cello section in the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra. Prize-winner at the Prague Spring International Cello Competition (3rd prize and Bronze Medal, 1980).

In 2003-2004 he was rector of the St Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire.
Since 2006 Sergei Roldugin has been Artistic Director of the St Petersburg House of Music, which was founded on his initiative. 

sergei roldugin_bio

How the papers became public.


  • Boris says:

    So glad you have posted it here. He also gets to conduct Moscow orchestras a lot. Guess why (same reason as for Spivakov and Bashmet. Not for the conducting qualities. Check for yourself on youtube)

    • La Verita says:

      Yes, everyone knows about Spivakov & Bashmet – 2 of the brownest noses in the business. Their low regard for each other is legendary, yet they compete for who can grovel lower for Putin’s favors.

  • Leonora Bloom says:

    Well, Putin’s fortune is as good as gone if this is true. Just a new set of strings and a rehair costs $500. Then there are the cosmetic repairs, the cracks, the seams, the endpin, the fingerboard, the sound post adjustment. AN INSTRUMENT ALWAYS IN NEED OF SOME REPAIR. Not to leave out the bow issues-new frog, new tip, new winding, new varnish. That’s just for one bow and one cello. And by the way, a cellist never has enough bows or instruments. Must have a French antique bow, and Italian antique cello, an English antique bow, an American modern cello, a Dodd, a Forester, a $@/$-& cello to go in the plane underneath, blah blah blah. Then the cases-for the plane in the seat, for the plane underneath, for the festival when the cello went in the plane underneath. And the DOUBLE PLANE TICKETS. THE DOUBLE PLANE TICKETS. THE DOUBLE PLANE TICKETS. Oh my goodness Mr. Putin, kiss your money goodbye.

  • Eddie Mars says:

    The by-line of legendary plagiarist Luke Harding puts the mockers on this article before it begins.

    • Steven Holloway says:

      Well, putting aside the OTT “legendary”, Harding is a plagiarist according to a number of Russophile sources. There’s an awful lot of irony in that the whole issue centres on the eXile, a publication that very explicitly rejects Western standards of ethics in academia and journalism (not that anyone with a brain cell would claim those standards are wholly adhered to). Unhappily, this has from the start meant reckless, vulgar and misogynistic articles coming from the eXile. But the point here is that before accepting that Harding is a “legendary plagiarist”, one should consider the sources of the accusation.

      • Eddie Mars says:

        You’ve gone quiet on us, Steve? No sign of single Panama Paper which mentions Putin, Steve?

        A million bucks embezzled by Julia Timochenko! Many millions whisked off to Panama by Ukrainian NeoNazi supremo Porky Poroshenko, the Cake-Factory King!

        And what about your threats to sue me, Steve? More gutless empty neocon lies and bravado?


    • Robert Holmén says:

      There are many more reporters and news orgs working this story bedsides Luke Harding and the Guardian.

      • Eddie Mars says:

        Lying Luke is the lead author. So far, not a single trace of a link to Putin, as this putrid plagiarist Harding claimed.

  • Olassus says:

    The New York Times does not appear to be featuring the “Panama Papers,” unlike all the others. I guess it is not part of the big consortium.

  • Gregor Tassie says:

    I know Sergey Roldugin quite well, and I find this article a bit hard to take seriously, a closer look reveals there is little actual substance to Harding’s allegations. Roldugin gave masterclasses at the Northern College of Music and I interviewed him about his work at the Leningrad Philharmonic under Mravinsky. He is a distinguished musician and he doesn’t deserve this trashy treatment from what has become quite a trashy newspaper (why don’t they say something about Cameron’s father and some of the equally salubrious people involved in the Panama ‘revelations?) Or is that because the Guardian is following the line by continuing to attack America’s biggest enemy? Roldugin by the way told me that he was a fellow student of Putin’s at school and when I last met him, he was teaching his friend Putin about Shostakovich’s Fifth symphony. Anyone who knows Sergey will know this article is pure rubbish.

    • Roberto Trevin says:

      He is a good musician therefore he can’t be a thief and a corrupt money loundering assitant. Well done there with logic.

    • Olassus says:

      There are dozens of media outlets involved. See the BBC for instance. The files were given to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, a decent rag in Munich.

    • Eddie Mars says:

      Harding is a worthless hack who will publish any neocon tripe for money. I’m not surprised to see his by-line at the top of this page of hate-mongering cobblers.

      • Enigma Trout says:

        Luke Harding is, as someone above has already pointed out, one of a very large number of journalists who’ve been involved in this story. It’s been shared by investigative journalists in a number of countries.

        Regardless of your views of Luke Harding’s work (and the poster above is quite correct in that those casting aspersions on him have largely been pro-Putin stooges, which isn’t surprising given how sharp Harding has been at finding out what Putin has been up to).

        Now: sticking to what’s relevant, rather than the bizarre bile you for some reason feel the need to throw at a massive story because of the name of one of the several hundred journalists who’ve been working on it, how about you tell us what you actually think of this news?

        I know probably twenty of the journalists who’ve worked on this in the UK, and (as a tax lawyer) have advised them in some detail on what’s going on. I am 100% certain that there has been flat out tax evasion in a number of the cases revealed in this leak, and distinctly dodgy behaviour that may or may not be illegal in many more.

        Have you got anything constructive to say, or is it going to be more “not a single one of the 11.5million documents leaked are of value because one journalist I (wrongly) have a problem with is peripherally involved”?

        • Steven Holloway says:

          What I find just plain dismal is that Mr. Mars apparently did not notice that Harding is but one of eight researchers who produced this article, though Harding wrote it. With investigative works of this sort, content is everything, style a secondary consideration. If, therefore, Mr. Mars chooses to impugn the honesty of the investigation and of the factual content, he must impugn not just Harding. He must defame those other seven researchers, asserting that they too stole their material from other writers. Thinking of Britain’s libel/slander laws, I would suggest he knock off pursuing this line, for at the end of it there is only grief for Mr. Mars.

          • Eddie Mars says:

            Threats, eh, Steven?

            You’re so classy. The self-same Stalinist rationale you and your chums in Crouch End affect to despise.

        • Eddie Mars says:

          Definitely lookiing bad for David Cameron, I would say? On the basis of the evidence in his father’s case.

          • Steven Holloway says:

            Never leave us, Eddie. You are surely a one-off. Only you could describe what is, in fact, a quite obvious suggestion, one of benefit, as a threat. Your need to fit me too iinto some sort of oddly-shaped Procrustean bed. Harding you say will publish any type of “neocon tripe for money”. When I and others put forward what is, again, a pretty obvious defence of the man and his colleagues, I seem to shift on the bed from defender of “neocon” to Stalinist denizen of Crouch End. I admit to being born and bred in England, but I’ve lived in Canada for almost four decades and voted Green in the last General Election here. I don’t think there was a Neo-con Stalinist candidate in Canada, although the bunch now in power in Russia might well be described as such, a point worth thinking about it.

          • Eddie Mars says:

            The differences in methodology between neocons (such as yourself) and Stalinists are mere niceties – which enthusiastic extremists – such as yourself – attempt to befuddle to cover your own tracks.

            Your darling Barack O’Bomber is enthusiastically running parallel wars, the gulag camp at Gitmo (Stalinist in every way) and the Black Prisons at Bagram Air Base and Camp Bondsteel.

            What you know about Russia could be written on the back of a Mauritian postage stamp, Steven. But like your putrid hero William Kristol, you love to wag your ignorant trap as loudly as possible.

            Keep posting! You’re truly LAUGHABLE!! :))) Ad hominem crapola, threats of litigation, empty-headed garbage about Russia…. nd stalwart defence of proven plagiarists! you should get a job at the circus.

        • Eddie Mars says:

          Strangely, the Panama trail’s gone cold on Putin in the Guardian?

          Looks like your journalist ‘pals’ on the case are just sensationalist ambulance-chasers like Luke Harding, doesn’t it, Trout?

          C’mon, come back at me with a pile of empty ad-hominem crapola, why don’t you? Easier than fact and argument, isn’t it?

          Trout you are!

  • May says:

    And will the name Gergiev also be one of those listed? Stay tuned!

  • Steven Holloway says:

    Magnifique, Eddie. I told you I voted Green, I regard the ‘free market’ as a menace, the invasion of Iraq as a war crime, Kristol as simply putrid, and am most definitely as enthusiastically a support of Bernie as you will find. But…to you I am Stalinist. All your disputes on this blog follow this same pattern — accuse the person of being each of any two extremist positions, in this case Stalinist and New-con simultaneously, and then move back and forth from one to t’other without compunction. After all, you’ve already stated there is no difference. Textbook ad hominem arguments from one seized by the straw man fallacy. But no matter — the only harm done is to your blood pressure, I should think.

    • Eddie Mars says:

      You live in Canada, but you vote for Bernie, who isn’t a Green candidate, and is an American.

      Over on the right hand side of your screen, you will see a slider. If you slide it up to the top, you’ll see a topic title reading “Putin’s fortune is controlled by a cellist”. That’s the topic on this thread, Steven. Try posting about it?? Instead of about yourself? It would be a first for you.

      • Steven Holloway says:

        Deep, deep sigh. No, Eddie, I didn’t say I vote for Bernie. I said I’m an enthusiastic supporter of Bernie. I voted Green because I live in Canada, which is a different country, you see, and one where I’m allowed to be enthusiastic about almost anything. See the difference? Now, of course, you must expect those who respond to you (really only because it’s fun pushing your buttons) to write rather a lot about themselves. This is because, Eddie, you can detect a vague hint of disagreement with you as speedily as a pig does a truffle. A one-word hint that opposition may be in the offing, and you become the Tasmanian Devil of the ad-hominem/feminam attack. Your mere name-calling doesn’t matter so much, but gross distortions of what people write do demand correction.

        • Eddie Mars says:

          Still waiting for those Putin Panama revelations, Steven Holleraway???

          As we expected – empty bigoted crapola from you as usual!

          Just a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig mouth. And nothing else.

  • Eddie Mars says:

    So in fact, as it turns out – there’s not a single Panama Paper leading to Putin. Not one.

    So what does this say about the reputation of crusading plagiarist hack Luke Harding?!

    Not much!

    • Eddie Mars says:

      Yet mysteriously there is little reporting of the millions of dollars of stolen funds stashed away in Panama by Ukrainian oligarchs Petro Waltzman (aka “Poroshenko”, not the name in his passport), and Eeyore (aka Ihor aka actually Igor, the *real* name in his passport) Kolomoisky. Both men have been fully identified in the Panama Papers.

      And yet there is silence about them on SD.

  • Eddie Mars says:

    Here we are on Friday, at the end of the week – and the gutless neocon lies, and the liars who promoted them, lie in tatters.

    It’s been fascinating to see which Slipped Discers were primed and ready to leap in with the Russophobic twaddle. We’ll remember who they are, for next time when they arrive here mob-handed with another campaign of lies funded by George Soros.

    Meanwhile, Luke Harding’s reputation as a “journalist” is now in the trash. Not *only* a feckless plagiarist who steals the material of real journalists. But *also* a paid-to-post neocon shill, whose byline flags up the pile of factless neocon lies that appear beneath it.

    “Expert opinion” about Russia – provided by members who don’t read a word of Russian, and have never been closer to Moscow than Ontario – has similarly proved to be a gutless, bigoted heap of politically-motivated empty dreck, posted by one of the rudest and most viciously unpleasant individuals on these message-boards. Truly laughable!!!!!