Putin has 2, maybe 3, daughters he barely ever talks about who just got hit by US sanctions — here’s everything we know about them

Lyudmila Putina

Russian President Vladimir and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Shkrebneva.Sergey Ponomarev/AP

  • Russian president Vladimir Putin has at least two, possibly three, daughters he rarely talks about.

  • He has two adult daughters with his ex-wife Lyudmila Shkrebneva: Maria, 36, and Katerina, 35.

  • On April 6, 2022, the White House put both on its sanctions list because of the war in Ukraine.

  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The international community has been laser-focused on Russian President Vladimir Putin amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 69-year-old leader has fought hard to prevent the media and the world from knowing much about his personal life. But five weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US applied sanctions to both womenbarring them from the US financial system.

Putin’s carefully curated macho image — he’s often photographed riding horses, lifting weights, and posing shirtless — has colored much of the public’s understanding of him. He has also made a concerted effort to shield his children from the spotlight, prompting many to question whether he even has children at all.

Putin has never publicly acknowledged his children, though media outlets have for years speculated and reported about the two daughters Putin had with his ex-wife, and even that a girlfriend may have had another daughter in 2015.

One of them, Katerina Tikhonova, appears to be building a public profile, and was seen last year speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia — the country’s equivalent of Davos. But as with her earlier media appearances, nobody explicitly linked her with Putin.

Here is what we know about the lives of Putin’s secret kids.

Pat Ralph contributed reporting to previous versions of this article.

Putin had two daughters in his first marriage to form flight attendant Lyudmila Shkrebneva, to whom he was married for three decades until their divorce in 2013.

Vladimir Putin Lyudmilla Wife


Sources: Vladimir Putin, Reuters, Business Insider

Their daughter’s names are Maria and Katerina. Maria was born in Leningrad in 1985, and Katerina was born in Germany in 1986 when the family lived there during her father’s time in the KGB.

Vladimir Putin daughters

Maria and Katerina Putin, from their father’s personal archive.Reuters

Sources: Vladimir Putin, Reuters, Newsweek

Both girls are named after their grandmothers. Maria’s nickname is Masha and Katerina’s nickname is Katya.

vladimir putin parents

Putin’s father, Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin, and his mother, Maria Ivanovna Shelomova.Kremlin

Masha and Katya are common Russian shortenings for Maria and Katerina.

Sources: Vladimir Putin, Reuters, Newsweek

When the family moved to Moscow in 1996, the girls attended a German-language school. The children were reportedly removed from school when Putin became acting president, and teachers educated them at home.

vladimir putin wife acting president 2000 lyudmila

Then-acting President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila applaud during a concert after an award ceremony in Gudermes on January 1, 2000.REUTERS

Source: Newsweek

“Not all fathers are as loving with their children as he is,” Lyudmila said in a quote on Putin’s government website. “And he has always spoiled them, while I was the one who had to discipline them.”

Vladimir Putin Lyudmilla Wife

Vesti.ru screengrab

Source: Vladimir Putin

Maria studied biology in college and went to medical school in Moscow, while Katerina majored in Asian Studies in college. Both girls attended university under false identities.

Vladimir Putin wife

Putin and wife Ludmila arrive at the airport in Rostock-Laage, Germany on June 6, 2007.Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Sources: Reuters, Newsweek

Maria, now 36, is a medical researcher and lives in Moscow with her Dutch husband, Jorrit Faassen.

Vladimir Putin Wife


Sources: Reuters, Newsweek, Bloomberg

Maria and Faassen reportedly have a child — Putin told filmmaker Oliver Stone in 2017 that he was a grandfather. When Stone asked if he played with his grandchild, Putin replied, “Very seldom, unfortunately.”

vladimir putin oliver stone the putin interviews

“The Putin Interviews” was a four-part series that premiered on Showtime in May 2017.show time

Sources: Reuters, The Independent, Bloomberg, DailyMail

Meanwhile, Katerina reportedly lives a high-flying life, living in lavish apartments and acquiring a fortune.

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin makes a toast during an award ceremony in the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia on Dec. 28, 2017.Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool Photo via AP

Sources: Reuters, The Independent, Bloomberg, DailyMail

Katerina, now 35, is an accomplished acrobatic dancer and has a senior position at her alma mater, Moscow State University, heading a $1.7 billion startup incubator.

Katerina Putin

Katerina Tikhonovna, daughter of Vladimir Putin, dancing.Jakub Dabrowski/Reuters

Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg

Katerina married Russian billionaire Kirill Shamalov in 2013. But the couple divorced in 2018, and the divorce case revealed they were worth $2 billion.

Kirill Shamalov

Kirill Shamalov, the former husband of Putin’s daughter KaterinaReuters/Kommersant Photo/Dmitry Dukhanin

Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, The Guardian

There are no official current photos of the girls. For Katerina, we found the slightly varying first names “Katerina”, “Katya”, and “Yekaterina,” and the last names “Putina,” “Tikhonova,” and “Shamalov.”

Katerina Tikhonova putina vladimir putin daughter

Katerina Tikhonova (L), daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, dances with Ivan Klimov during the World Cup Rock’n’Roll Acrobatic Competition in Krakow, Poland, on April 12, 2014.REUTERS/Jakub Dabrowski

Sources: Reuters, Newsweek

Finally, there are rumors that Putin has a third daughter with girlfriend and former Russian rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva.

Alina KabayevaVladimir Putin

Putin greets rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabayeva during a meeting with candidates to the Russian Olympic team for Summer Olympics 2004 at the presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow on March 10, 2004.REUTERS/Pool AS

Source: New York Post

But neither the child nor the relationship with Kabaeva have been confirmed.

Alina Kabaeva vladimir fucking girlfriend

Putin smiles next to Russian gymnast Alina Kabaeva during a meeting with the Russian Olympic team at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia on November 4, 2004.REUTERS/ITAR-TASS/PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE

Source: Business Insider

Putin has tried to shelter his children from the media, attempting to keep them out of politics so they can live normal lives.


Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

Sources: Reuters, Business Insider

Despite this, Katerina made her debut on Russian state TV as a biotechnology expert in December 2018.

fucking daughter yekaterina katerina

Katerina Tikhonova (R) on Rossiya 1 on December 7, 2018.Rossiya 1

Source: Business Insider

Her appearance did not include comment on her being related to Putin. The link was briefly made public in the course of a dance competition, but later retracted.

vladimir putin and daughter Katerina Tikhonova

Katerina Tikhonova (L) and Vladimir PutinREUTERS

Source: Reuters

In June 2021, Katerina addressed a conference that is Russia’s equivalent of Davos — but nobody called her Putin’s daughter, apparently out of fear of reprisal from the Kremlin.

Katerina Tikhonova.JPG

Katerina Tikhonova, deputy director of the Institute for Mathematical Research of Complex Systems at Moscow State University, on screen taking part in a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia, on June 4, 2021.Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

Source: The Washington Post

In late 2020, Putin announced Russia had completed its COVID-19 vaccine, although it had yet to complete clinical assessments. Putin said he gave the shot to one of his two daughters, but wouldn’t specify which one.

Vladimir Putin coronavirus vaccine

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government via video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, on August 11, 2020.Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS

Sources: Business Insider, BBC, Politico

Putin said his daughter’s temperature decreased after getting two shots. “She has taken part in the experiment,” he said, adding, “She’s feeling well and has a high number of antibodies.”

Vladimir Putin

Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo/AP Images

Sources: Business Insider, BBC, Politico

It was a rare acknowledgment for Putin, but one still shrouded in mystery.


Russia’s President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting of the Russian Security Council at Moscow’s Kremlin.Alexei NikolskyTASS via Getty Images

In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting condemnation from around the world. Three weeks later an activist filmed himself inside what he said was a Biarritz apartment owned by Katerina’s ex-husband, saying he wanted to host Ukrainian refugees there.

Putin Villa Biaritz

An image showing an activist flying a Ukrainian flag from the balcony of a villa linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Biarritz, France.Russia Today

Source: Insider, The Insider.

In April, the US sanctioned Maria and Katerina, saying that they had “enriched themselves at the expense of the Russian people.” A statement said “This action cuts them off from the US financial system and freezes any assets they hold in the United States.”

Vladimir PutinKaterina Tikhonova


The Wall Street Journal said that the EU could also sanction the two women, but it was not immediately clear whether this had taken place.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, The White House

Read the original article on Business Insider

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