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Unseen photos of Vladimir Putin's secret daughters Maria and Katarina leaked by former billionaire confidant

The two women are believed to be Putin's daughters from his first marriage to Aeroflot flight attendant Lyudmila
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Rare pictures of Russian President Vladimir Putin's two "secret daughters" have emerged online. The pictures were reportedly released by a former right-hand man of Putin who reportedly lost a $12 billion lawsuit against Moscow.

The two women, identified as Maria and Katerina, believed to be Putin's daughter from his first marriage to Aeroflot flight attendant Lyudmila were seen in a series of photos uploaded by Sergei Pugachev on his website when the two were teenagers. Putin's marriage with Lyudmila lasted nearly 30 years before the pair divorced in 2013. However, it has not yet been confirmed by Putin whether the two women — who are now in their 30s — are his daughters. The Russian leader in December 2019 had deflected questions linked to the women's identities.

You can see the photos here.

Pugachev, a former billionaire confidant, who once claimed that he "personally brought Putin to power" fled Russia when he was hit with serious legal charges for an alleged Ponzi-style scam with a bank he owns. Pugachev reportedly attempted to sue Moscow for $12 billion for allegedly expropriating his assets. The Hague International Arbitration Court, however, refused to consider Pugachev's claims this week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had deflected questions linked to the women's identities (Getty Images)

The billionaire, aware of Putin's secrecy over his family, ultimately posted pictures of the women, then teenagers, along with his own children. Pugachev on his website captioned the photos as: "Young friendship is forever!!!”. The pictures showed Putin's alleged daughters inside the Kremlin and at Pugachev’s then-home near Moscow. Among the pictures posted on the site, one showed the teens at a private party with the pop group Strelki, dubbed the Russian Spice Girls.

One of the women, Maria, 35, reportedly uses the surname of her mother Vorontsova, and has a career in medical research. She is reportedly married to a Dutch businessman and has children with him. On the other hand, Katerina, 33, who has taken her maternal grandmother's family name Tikhonova is believed to be heading a major new Russian artificial intelligence initiative. She was previously married to Kirill Shamalov, 38, Russia's youngest billionaire but the pair divorced in 2018. 

The Russian president, in 2015, had shocked the country after he spoke about his daughters, saying he was "proud" of them. Putin gushed over them, adding that they spoke multiple languages. However, he did not confirm their identities. In a press conference at the time, he talked about the privacy he maintains when it comes to his personal life, adding that he does not like to mingle it with business or politics.

"I never discuss questions related to my family. They are not involved in business or politics. They are not pushing for this," the Kremlin leader had said. It has been previously reported that Putin also has a family with the former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva and has at least two boys from the relationship. However, he continues to be secretive about his second familiar ties too. Kabaeva, Putin's rumored girlfriend, had given birth to two boys last year in May and her labor was reportedly the reason why the entire VIP floor of the Kulakov Research Centre for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology was cleared that month.