- BBC News World
Not much is known about the family of Vladimir Putin.
That is, in his more than 20 years in power, the Russian president was the kind of leader who kept his loved ones out of the public eye.
In 2015, during one of his marathon press conferences, he admitted that the family issue was a very private matter to him.
“My daughters live in Russia and study only in Russia, and I am proud of them, and they speak three foreign languages fluently. I don’t talk about my family with anyone“, It is to explain.
He added that “everyone has the right to his own destiny and to live his life and do so with dignity.”
But while the Russian leader prefers to keep his family away from politics and headlines, the war in Ukraine has brought their names back to the fore.
On Wednesday, the United States targeted, in a new round of sanctions, the president’s well-known offspring: Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova, 36, and Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova, 35.
“We believe that many of Putin’s assets are hidden with family members, which is why we are targeting them,” a US official said.
The moves come on the heels of revelations about several atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, including photographs of civilian corpses scattered in the streets of Bucha, near the capital, Kyiv.
Russia has said, without evidence, that the photos were taken by Ukrainian officials.
Although satellite imagery showed civilians were killed when the Russians controlled Bucha, Putin on Wednesday described the event as a “crude and cynical provocation by the Kyiv regime.”
Although there is little official information about the Putin family, some documents, media reports, and occasional public statements have helped provide a picture of them.
Putin’s well-known daughters are the result of his marriage to him Lyudmila Alexandrovna buTina (Although he stopped using the last surname after the divorce.)
Putin and Lyudmila married in 1983 when she was a flight attendant and he was a KGB officer.
The marriage lasted 30 years, a period that coincided with Putin’s rapid rise to the top of the Russian political establishment.
Putin said,It was a joint decision: we hardly see each other, everyone has their own life“.
Lyudmila, for her part, said that her partner for many years was “completely overwhelmed with work.”
The eldest daughter, Maria Vorontsova, was born in 1985.
He studied biology at Saint Petersburg University and medicine at Moscow State University.
Vorontsova is now an academic specializing in the endocrine system.
She is the co-author of a book on dwarfism in children and is a registered researcher at the Moscow Research Center for Endocrinology.
She is also a businesswoman.
BBC Russia I identified her as the co-owner of a company planning to build a huge medical center.
Vorontsova is married to a Dutch businessman Jorit Just Fassinwho worked for the Russian energy giant Gazprom, although, according to some reports, they parted.
People who have spoken to her since the invasion of Ukraine say she supports her father and has questioned international reports on the conflict.
According to the United States, Vorontsova “runs state-funded programs that have received billions of dollars from the Kremlin for their genetic research and are personally supervised by Putin.”
Compared to her sister, Katerina Tikhonova She has been much more than that in the public eye, mostly due to her talent as a rock and roll dancer.
In fact, he placed fifth in an international event in 2013.
In the same year, he married Kirill Shamalovthe son of an old friend of Putin.
Their wedding took place in an exclusive ski resort near Saint Petersburg. Party staff said the couple arrived in a sleigh pulled by three white horses.
The United States sanctioned Shamalov in 2018 for his role in the Russian energy sector. The US Treasury said his “wealth improved significantly after the marriage.”
The couple have since separated.
In the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine, two Russian activists were arrested for occupying a luxury villa in Biarritz that was said to be owned by Shamalov.
The United States described her in sanctions as a “tech executive whose work supports the Russian government and defense industry.”
It is said that neither of the two women spend much time with their father.
The president also has grandchildren.
He mentioned them on a phone call in 2017, but he didn’t say how many or which of his daughters they were.
He said, “For my grandchildren, one of them is already in kindergarten. Please understand, I don’t want them to grow up like some kind of royal prince. I want them to grow up like normal people.”
You can now receive notifications from the BBC World. Download and activate the new version of our app so you don’t miss our best content.