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Who Is Elena Zhukova, Rupert Murdoch’s New Russian

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  • Rupert Murdoch, 92, appears to be dating again. 
  • His new girlfriend is Elena Zhukova, a molecular biologist. 
  • She is the mother of Dasha Zhukova, the ex-wife of the oligarch Roman Abramovich. 

Months after breaking his engagement to conservative radio host Ann Leslie Smith, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, 92, is dating again. 

His new girlfriend is Elena Zhukova, 66, a retired Russian molecular biologist. 

The Daily Mail broke the news of the relationship, reporting that Murdoch met Zhukova at a party hosted by his ex-wife, Wendi Deng. The report was later confirmed by outlets including The Guardian. Afterwards, Murdoch invited Zhukova out and they spent several weeks cruising the Mediterranean. 

The elite British society magazine Tatler describes Zhukova as being “at the centre of a sprawling web of power that encompasses the art world, Russian oligarchs and one of the world’s most influential shipping dynasties.”

She has Jewish-Russian heritage, and was previously married to Russian oil billionaire and financier Alexander Zhukhov.

In an interview with The New Yorker in 2010, she described her family as being part of the “Moscow intelligentsia,” and said she met her first husband when the two were students. 

The pair had a daughter, Dasha Zhukhova. They divorced when she was three, and Alexander went on to make a fortune in oil and finance when Soviet authorities began to loosen restrictions on private enterprise.

Per the Financial Times, Zhukova left the Soviet Union in 1990, when she was in her thirties. She took a position at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1990 with her daughter, then nine years old.

The move was first thought to be temporary, her daughter told the FT, but they lived there for years until Zhukova was offered an opportunity at the University of California, Los Angeles to study diabetes.

By the time she retired, Zhukova was a professor of biology with several peer-reviewed scientific articles to her name.

Her daughter described her as a “very serious scientist” that was “more interested in substance than aesthetics.” She recalled a childhood filled with “geeky” graduate students visiting the house, the FT reported in 2012.

Elena also has twins, a boy and a girl, from another relationship, according to a Guardian profile of Dasha Zhukhova.

The younger Zhukova is an art collector, socialite, and businesswoman, who was married to Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch and the former owner of Chelsea FC. The couple had two children before their divorce in 2018.

According to The New York Post citing property records, Abramovich transferred ownership of $92 million of New York City property to Dasha Zhukova after their divorce, including a 5-storey Upper East Side mansion, 

Dasha Zhukova is currently married to Stavros Niarchos II, grandson of Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos. The couple have a son. 

According to the Mail, Dasha is “great friends” with Murdoch’s ex-wife Deng. 

Murdoch has been married five times, divorcing Jerry Hall, ex wife of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, in 2022.

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