Russian president Vladimir Putin may not have issues with the media covering his leisure activities such as hiking and horse-back riding, but he is known to be extremely protective of his personal life. While he is known to have two daughters, and has even spoken quite affectionately about them in the past revealing that he had become a grandfather, his daughters have never made a public appearance. Well, until now.
On Thursday, December 6, a woman reportedly appeared on Russian state television channel Rossiya 1 and is thought to be Katerina Tikhonova, the younger daughter of Putin. The interview was rebroadcast on December 7, during which Tikhonova spoke about improvement of technologies that control electrical impulses in the brain, reported the New York Times.
The news coverage reportedly also praised Tikhonova's research.
Tikhonova's is said to be Putin's younger daughter from his first marriage to former flight attendant Lyudmila Shkrebneva. The couple was married for about 30 years before their 2013 divorce.
When Putin was earlier asked if Tikhonova was his daughter, he neither admitted nor denied the information, only saying that his daughters were "involved in science and education," and "live normal, everyday lives." He had also added that they lived in Moscow and that he did not want his grandchildren to "grow up like some royal princes."
Nearly 19 years into Mr. Putin's rule, Russian state television aired what a Russian newspaper reported to be the first interview with the president's youngest daughter. There is no firm tradition of a public first family in Russia https://t.co/M2nwfcZPw3— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) December 8, 2018
"The minute I give their names and ages, they would be identified immediately and would never be left in peace, and this would be quite simply detrimental to their development," he had explained, during a televised show, reported Bustle.
The last time Tikhonova made news was during her divorce from Kirill Shamalov, who was once known to be Russia's youngest billionaire. Post the split, the 32-year-old lost almost half his wealth, and was also demoted from his post as deputy chief executive to a senior executive at petrochemical firm Sibur, reported Bloomberg.
Shamalov and Tikhonova tied the knot in 2013 and the reported wedding was a lavish soiree at the Igora ski resort in the hills of St Petersburg. People who were in attendance told Reuters that the couple rode in on a Russian sleigh drawn by three white horses. While Tikhonova is said to have worn a pearl tinted dress and Shamalov was equally dapper in a coat, the guests too were not far behind and sported white scarves embroidered with the letters "K&K" – for Katerina and Kirill – in red thread.
But sometime in 2017, the businessman moved on to Zhanna Volkova, a Moscow-born London socialite. In December 2017, the businessman's private Facebook page even featured an image of Shamalov and his new girlfriend with a caption that read: "I Love you," the Telegraph UK reported citing a Vedomosti report.