1965-66, studies, Cairo Univ.; 1967, degree (Hons) in Arabic Studies, Oriental Faculty, Leningrad State Univ.; Doctorate in History, Institute for Oriental Studies, Leningrad. Until 1991, with Institute for Oriental Studies, Leningrad; 1991, joined State Hermitage Museum as First Deputy Director; currently, General Director. Has taken part in archaeological excavations in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Yemen. Member: Russian Academy of Sciences; Russian Academy of Arts; President's Council for Art and Culture. Professor, St Petersburg State Univ. President: Union of Museums in Russia; Worldwide Club of St Petersburg. Chairman, Board, European Univ., St Petersburg; Editor-in-Chief, The Christian Orient; Corresponding Member, German Archeological Institute. Member, Group of Consultants, Council of Europe. Author of more than 250 scholarly works. Presenter, My Hermitage, a TV series. Recipient of numerous awards and honours.