What We Know About Vladimir Putin's Daughters

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in the news more than ever. On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, launching what NPR calls a "devastating assault on Ukrainian territory — the largest such military operation in Europe since the end of World War II."

In his televised speech on February 23, 2022, President Putin announced Russia would be partaking in a "special military operation" whose "goal is to protect people who have been abused by the genocide of the Kyiv regime for eight years." What Putin claims to want is a "demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine, as well as bringing to justice those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians" (per Vox).

There is no genocide happening in Ukraine. President Putin is spreading propaganda, which many believe is meant to lay the groundwork to help overthrow the current Ukrainian government. "It is a military operation with maximalist war aims, whose [ultimate] aim is regime change," explains Michael Kofman, director of Russia Studies at the CNA think tank. Only a few days before the invasion, The Guardian reports Russian-state run Channel One was playing video showing fake Ukrainian "attacks" believed to be have been made by the GRU, Russia's version of the CIA.

The Russian president is no stranger to carefully cultivating what and how information is shared with the public. "Russia has a long record of doing this," Elliot Higgins, founder of the investigative website Bellingcat, told The Guardian. He also said that there is also a history of the Russian people believing the propaganda.

These are Vladimir Putin's daughters

Russian President Vladimir Putin's own family is a mystery to the world — a confusing contrast for most of the west, whose leaders' families are a strong part of their public image.

If Putin's daughters are mentioned, they are never acknowledged by name. Information about them has been kept very quiet — so quiet that even when they make public appearances, no one acknowledges who their father is, always staying in line with how the Kremlin wants them handled.

This is what we know about his daughters: Katerina Tikhonova and Maria Vorontsova are the daughters of the Russian president and his ex-wife, Lyudmila Shkrebneva, who Business Insider reports divorced Putin in 2013. On a government website, Shkrebneva is quoted saying, "Not all fathers are as loving with their children as he is. And he has always spoiled them, while I was the one who had to discipline them."

While Vorontsova was born in Leningrad, Business Insider explains Tikhonova was born in Germany, where the family lived until 1996 during Putin's time with the KGB. Both girls were pulled out of school once Putin became president, and went to university under false names according to Express.

Vorontsova, a medical researcher, studied Biology and then Medicine in Moscow, per Business Insider. She's married and has a child, who Putin told Oliver Stone in 2017 he "very seldom" sees. Tikhonova went to university for Asian Studies and was seen in June 2021 speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Does Vladimir Putin have a secret third daughter?

According to the U.S. Sun, although Russian premier Vladimir Putin officially only has two daughters, there might be a secret third lurking somewhere out there. Putin has always refused to acknowledge the existence of this alleged secret child, but rumors continue to circulate that she exists and, moreover, certain corners even claim to know who she is. The controversial leader allegedly fathered the child during an affair, which is likely why he's so reticent to discuss the matter publicly. 

Unverified reports claim 18-year-old fashion designer and DJ Luiza Rozova is Putin's secret third daughter. Rozova is slowly gaining popularity on Instagram and, as it has been pointed out, she bears more than a passing resemblance to her rumored father. (Rozova rarely posts full photos of her face, however). Rozova, aka Elizaveta Krivonogikh, is the daughter of Putin's alleged former lover, Svetlana Krivonogikh. 

The Russian opposition media revealed her identity in 2021, which increased Rozova's social media following exponentially, if not her public commentary on the matter. However, Rozova did tell Russian GQ she might look "similar" to a young Putin, but went no further. Meanwhile, when the shocking story initially dropped, Putin's spokesperson claimed the reports were "not very convincing" and "de facto unfounded."

According to Grazia Daily, when questioned about whether the rumors had brought her any negative attention by journalist Andrey Zakharov, who broke the story, Rozova responded, "I am very grateful for the chance to be in the limelight." 

Alleged photos of Vladimir Putin's daughters were released by a former friend

According to the New York Post, in 2020, photos were posted to the website of former Vladimir Putin confidante and disgraced billionaire Sergei Pugachev, purporting to be of his two "secret" daughters. Pugachev had recently lost a massive, $12 billion lawsuit against Russia, which might explain why he decided to share photos of Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova, who are never publicly acknowledged as the president's children, even though they're generally believed to be just that.

Alongside the images, which show the women as teenagers hanging out with his own kids, Pugachev wrote, "Young friendship is forever!!!" per Russian outlet Open Media, who originally reported the news. They're photographed inside the Kremlin and at Pugachev's residence at the time, which was located in Moscow. They're also shown enjoying a private party with Russia's answer to the Spice Girls, Strelki.

In 2015, Putin made a rare comment about his girls, gushing about how "proud" he was of their careers and ability to speak multiple languages. However, he refused to name them, stating firmly, "I never discuss questions related to my family. They are not involved in business or politics. They are not pushing for this." Clearly, though, it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep them fully under wraps.