Who are Vladimir Putin’s daughters?

Russian President’s children could be targeted by economic sanctions

Vladimir Putin and his children in 2002
Putin with (from left) Katerina, his then wife Lyudmila and Maria in 2002
(Image credit: www.kremlin.ru)

Vladimir Putin’s children could be among a growing list of wealthy Russians on the receiving end of EU sanctions, it has emerged.

Diplomats say the EU is planning to target Putin’s two daughters as part of the bloc’s response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, said The Wall Street Journal. Member states still need to approve the sanctions, “which are among dozens of newly proposed, targeted travel bans and asset freezes”.

Putin has never publicly acknowledged his children, but it is generally thought he has at least two daughters, Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova, with his ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretny.

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Sanctioning the pair “is largely a symbolic move since it’s unclear they have significant assets outside of Russia”, said Bloomberg. “It’s designed to get the president’s attention”. The Wall Street Journal said it was “possible” that the US would also roll out similar sanctions, but this remains unclear.

Putin has always been notoriously secretive about his private life, making a “concerted effort to shield his children from the spotlight, prompting many to question whether he even has children at all”, said Business Insider.

He and Ocheretny were married for almost 30 years, during which time Putin moved up the ranks of the KGB and its successor, the FSB, before he succeeded Boris Yeltsin as president in 1999.

The pair split “just weeks” before their 30th wedding anniversary, in June 2013, after Putin’s “16 and 17-hour days” took its toll on their family life, said the Daily Mirror.

Who are Putin’s children?

Maria Vorontsova

Putin’s elder child Maria was born on 28 April 1985. Now 36, she is reportedly an endocrinologist and one of Russia’s foremost experts on dwarfism, according to The Sun.

She studied biology at St Petersburg University before going on to study medicine at Moscow State University, reported Reuters in 2015. She then went on to be a PhD candidate at the Endocrinology Research Centre in Moscow, which runs a charity project, Alfa-Endo, that helps children affected by endocrine ailments, said the news agency.

She is thought to be married to the Dutch businessman Jorrit Faassen, with whom it is believed she has a child, “making the Russian president a grandfather”, said the Daily Mail.

During an interview in 2017 Putin told the filmmaker Oliver Stone that he was a grandfather, said Business Insider. When Stone asked if he played with his grandchild, Putin replied: “Very seldom, unfortunately.”

Katerina Tikhonova

Born in August 1986, the second child of the Russian president was born Yekaterina Vladimirovna Putina, but like her older sister does not use her father’s name. Instead, she uses the patronymic surname of her maternal grandmother, Yekaterina Tikhonovna Shkrebneva.

The Sun reports that she gained a doctorate from Moscow State University after “completing a study on helping cosmonauts and pilots to orientate themselves in difficult conditions”, and now spearheads “a major new Russian artificial intelligence initiative”.

But the 35-year-old is “arguably best-known for her success as a rock ’n roll dancer”, said the Daily Mail, despite her role as the director for the Institute for Mathematical Research of Complex Systems at Moscow State University.

Katerina was previously married to the billionaire Kirill Shamalov, “part-owner of SIBUR Holding, a Russian petrochemicals company – and son of the co-owner of one of Russia’s largest banks”, said the Mail. But the pair divorced in 2018, “when it was revealed that they shared assets of around $2 billion”, said the paper.

Last month, a group of pro-Ukrainian protesters were detained by French police after breaking into a villa in Biarritz. It was bought by Shamalov in 2012 for €4.5m (£3.8m) and is still used by Katerina.

The group, led by the French former businessman Pierre Haffner, who lived in Russia for more than two decades, declared the multimillion-pound beach-front property to be “a shelter for Ukrainian refugees”, reported The Times.

Other rumoured children

Putin could have up to five children with the former Olympic gymnast turned pro-Kremlin politician Alina Kabaeva, reported The Mirror. In September 2013, Putin’s political rival Alexei Navalny claimed that Putin and Kabaeva had married, but Putin’s spokesman dismissed the claims as “an internet exercise to relieve boredom”.

Nevertheless, there are reports that she gave birth to Putin’s son Dmitry in 2008, a daughter in 2012, another alleged child in 2015, and twin boys in 2019, said the Mirror.

And the Russian president may have yet another child by “cleaner-turned-multimillionaire” Svetlana Krivonogikh, who the Daily Mail says is now “part-owner of a major Russian bank and one of the country’s wealthiest women”.

Luiza Rozova has never been acknowledged as Putin’s child, and her mother has never commented on the claims. The 18-year-old had 84,000 followers on Instagram before she stopped publicly posting around five months ago as Russian troops began massing near the border with Ukraine, “triggering the suspicion that Putin had gagged her”, said the Mail. Her account has since been deleted or hidden.

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