Vladimir Putin’s daughters seen for first time in years

Vladimir Putin’s daughters made a rare public appearance this week at a leading economic forum in the Russian president’s hometown of St. Petersburg.

Putin keeps the details of his family life a big secret and has never publicly confirmed that the two women – 39-year-old Maria Vorontsova and 37-year-old Katerina Tikhonova – are his daughters.

But the couple has been widely linked to Putin through various media reports, and in 2022 the US Treasury Department sanctioned both as “daughters of Russian President Putin”.

On Thursday and Friday, they appeared on panels at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia’s flagship annual business summit, where Putin delivered a major speech on Friday.

Tikhonova, a technology director who works in fields related to the Russian military, spoke on a panel Thursday about the role of the defense sector in strengthening Russia’s “technological sovereignty.”

“The sovereignty of the country is one of the key themes of recent years, it is the basis of Russia’s security,” Tikhonova said in her opening speech, delivered via video link.

Vorontsova, a biology researcher who heads the state-supported Institute of Genetics, spoke on a panel Friday about innovation in biodiversity.

The organizers listed her in the brochure of the event as a member of the presidium of the Russian Association for the Promotion of Science.

Both women have taken on more public roles in recent years, including some speaking roles at various forums and industry events.

Public appearances are still rare. Both have previously attended SPIEF as guests, but Russian independent media reported that this was the first time that both were part of the official program.

Putin has occasionally referred to the existence of “daughters” in public remarks during his quarter-century rule.

Although he never provided details, confirmed their identities or was clearly photographed with them.

Putin’s now ex-wife Lyudmila gave birth to two children, Maria and Katerina, in 1985 and 1986 when they were married.

In the early 2000s, the Kremlin released a photo of Putin on vacation in which his wife and two blonde teenage daughters were turned away from the camera, their faces obscured.

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