Valentin Berlinsky, 83, for six decades the cellist of the Borodin Quartet, one of the most renowned string quartets in the world and by all accounts the longest continuously playing one, died Dec. 15 in Moscow, where he had lived most of his life.

The quartet was most closely associated with the work of the 20th-century composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Mr. Berlinsky, the longest-serving member, performed with the group from shortly after its inception in 1945 until his retirement last year.

During the Cold War, the Borodin was the Soviet string quartet best known to the West, through its recordings and occasional concerts in the United States and Europe.

- N.Y. Times News Service