Russians living in Georgia burn effigy of Putin in protest of war
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The Russian economy is beginning to feel the heat of a fifth round of sanctions imposed by the EU, with Vladimir Putin’s daughters among the latest to be blacklisted. Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova, born in 1985 and 1986 respectively, were among 217 individuals sanctioned. Their mother is Lyudmila Putina, whose divorce from the Russian President was confirmed in 2013.
Putin’s family has, largely, been shrouded in mystery as he worked tirelessly to keep them off the world stage.
The women’s whereabouts are currently unknown, but their presidential connections have certainly served them well in life.
Both educated in Dresden, Germany, where their father was stationed as a KGB agent, they now enjoy white collar jobs.
Maria is a genetics researcher and paediatric endocrinologist with a specialism in dwarfism, having written a book on the matter.
Katerina, meanwhile, is reported to be head of the Moscow State University’s Artificial Intelligence Institute.
Both girls studied under false names at St Petersburg State University, whose current head is one of Putin’s cronies.
Away from her day job, Katerina proved an extremely talented sportswoman, representing her country in the acrobatic rock’n’roll world championships, finishing fifth.
After becoming involved in the sport, the Russian government rather conveniently funded a £24million state-of-the-art new training centre, which boasted a swimming pool and helipad.
Kremlin spokesperson Dimitry Peskov later denied any government involvement, telling Reuters it “does not have any relation to us”.
Both Katerina and Maria went on to lucrative marriages.
Maria married Jorrit Faassen, a Dutch businessman, in 2013.
She initially lived with him in a penthouse in western Holland, before returning to Moscow.
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The pair had been driven out of the country after the Dutch people called for their expulsion following the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines MH17, which killed a number of Dutch nationals and was widely believed to be the Kremlin’s responsibility.
Mr Faassen now works for Russia’s state-owned oil company Gazprom, according to the Evening Standard.
Maria and her husband have a child. When Putin was asked if he plays with his grandchild in a 2017 interview with filmmaker Oliver Stone, he said: “Very seldom, unfortunately.”
Katerina married slightly closer to home, tying the knot with the billionaire son of one of Putin’s close friends’, Kirill Shamalov.
They married in 2013 in a luxurious Igora ski resort, with guests sworn to secrecy.
Just a year after the wedding, Katerina’s new father-in-law Nikolai Shamalov, received a 17 percent share in Sibur, Russia’s largest petrochemicals company.
Katerina and Mr Shamalov divorced in 2018, but have a reported $2billion (£1.535billion) in shared assets.
Among the joint assets is a £2.8million holiday home in Biarritz, France, which was seized by pro-Ukrainian squatters following the invasion of Ukraine.
There are unverified rumours that Putin also has a third daughter with former Russian rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, once reported to have been Putin’s girlfriend.
However, neither the romance nor the child have ever been confirmed.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence has warned in its latest intelligence update that fighting is likely to intensify in eastern parts of Ukraine in the coming weeks.
Russian attacks, the MoD said, remain focused around Luhansk and Donetsk, with further fighting around Kherson and Mykolaiv.
Intelligence suggests the Russians will launch a fresh assault on Kramatorsk, the city where dozens of civilians were killed in a rocket attack on the railway station last week.
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