Stranger than fiction
Update 5:07 p.m. ET: After this article was published, Reuters' source — who had twice affirmatively answered Reuters' questions about whether Katerina Tikhonova was Vladimir Putin's daughter — "withdrew his comments, saying he had misheard the question," Reuters reports, adding, "It is the second time in two years that Reuters has disclosed Tikhonova's relationship to the president, citing a named source, and then been publicly challenged post publication." Our original report appears below.
For several years, rumors have circulated that a young acrobatic rock 'n' roll dance star named Katerina Tikhonova is the daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin. On Tuesday, Reuters said it finally had proof. Tikhonova's rumored identity was apparently confirmed by an official from the World Rock'n'Roll Confederation named Manfred Mohab. When Reuters asked him if he knew Putin's daughter, Mohab said, "Yes of course."
Putin has long tried to conceal his daughter's identity. Two years ago, Reuters speculated about Tikhonova's relation to Putin after a prominent Russian banker confirmed she was indeed Russia's first daughter, only to then deny ever having made the remarks. The last name of "Tikhonova" is inherited from her grandmother, Reuters says. Whether or not she bears any physical resemblance to the president is up for interpretation.
Mohab said Tikhonova's prominent connection to Putin had been beneficial for the world of acrobatic rock 'n' roll dance. The niche sport has received significant funding from the Russian government; Tikhonova is a senior official for the World Rock'n'roll Confederation.
If you want to familiarize yourself with this bizarre sport, which looks like a cross between '80s aerobics and competitive cheerleading, watch below. The woman in the video is reportedly Tikhonova herself. Kelly O'Meara Morales