Who is Daria 'Dasha' Zukhova? Roman Abramovich's ex built an empire on his fortune

New York art collector and mother of two of Abramovich's children has reportedly 'lived large' off the Russian oligarch, but now defies Putin


                            Who is Daria 'Dasha' Zukhova? Roman Abramovich's ex built an empire on his fortune
Roman Abramovich looks on with Daria Zhukova during a soccer match at the Luzhniki Stadium on October 19, 2010, in Moscow, Russia. (Alexander Fyodorov/Epsilon/Getty Images)
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The west's sweeping sanctions on Russia and its oligarchs are certainly having a telling effect. Over the past 30 days, not only has the Russian economy practically crumbled, but Russian oligarchs are now beginning to feel the pinch as well. Several ships have been seized by governments in Europe, and many have been forced to give up their links to sports teams, such as other businesses.

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Take for example Roman Abramovich. The Russian oligarch perhaps best known for his ownership of the English football team Chelsea FC has been forced to surrender ownership after Russia's invasion. While he has since attempted to play peacemaker, it appears he is quickly losing popularity. On March 4, his daughter Sofia made headlines for posting an anti-Putin meme. Given that she was enjoying the safety of London, Sofia faced few consequences unlike other Russians, who have been detained for protesting against Putin.

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Consequences though could be more severe for another of Abramovich's relations. In this case, that is Daria 'Dasha' Zhukova, a former wife of the Russian oligarch and mother of two of his children. A new report indicates how she's spent years living off Abramovich's fortunes, which could now be seized too if President Joe Biden decides to expand sanctions. 

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Who is Dasha Zhukova?

The New York-based art collector is commonly known amongst circles in the city. Not only does she on the boards of the Metropolitan Museum, the Shed, and the Los Angeles County Museum, but she is a philanthropist and entrepreneur. Born in Russia, she also founded the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow with her ex-husband. It wasn't the only time Abramovich's deep pockets have come to use for Zhukova. 

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Before their divorce was finalized in 2019, Abramovich transferred real estate holdings worth $92.3 million to her name. That includes three Upper East Side landmarked townhouses, which Zhukova combined into a megamansion. The transfer was made in September 2018, two years after they separated in 2016. The duo was also well known for throwing lavish parties in London, New York, and the Caribbean island of St. Barths. Guests at those events included the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Demi Moore, and others. 

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However, all that has now apparently gone away. Zhukova is happily married to Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos and has little to do with Abramovich beyond the Garage Center, where he is still listed as a trustee. She now lives in New York, after emigrating to Houston in 1991 with her mother. From there, she quickly rose, dating Russian tennis star Marat Safin on the way. However, the story of her rise is almost incomplete without Abramovich, who she met in 2005. 

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Even without him though, it appears she's doing quite well. Her three kids are enrolled in a private Manhattan school, and she has a combined net worth of over $200 million with Niarchos. That wealth, partially funded by Abramovich allowed her to slam Russian President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Russia. "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," she said.

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However, Zhukova has remained suspiciously silent about her ex, who is attempting to become a spokesperson of peace. She also postponed all the exhibits at The Garage Center, indicating she's comfortable putting her words into actions. Only time will tell if it comes back to haunt her, especially as Putin is out for blood against anyone who dares speak against him.  

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