Does Vladimir Putin have 3 daughters? Report suggests Russian leader may have secret child with gymnast girlfriend

While there are no official photos of Putin's 2 daughters with his ex-wife, it is rumored that he has a 3rd daughter with girlfriend and former rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva

                            Does Vladimir Putin have 3 daughters? Report suggests Russian leader may have secret child with gymnast girlfriend
Putin and ex-wife Lyudmila Shkrebneva / Alina Kabaeva (Getty Images)

Russian strongman Vladimir Putin reportedly had two daughters with former wife Lyudmila Shkrebneva, an ex-air hostess who he was married to for three decades before they divorced in 2013. As reported by Business Insider, Putin's daughters are named Maria and Katerina, the former was born in Leningrad in 1985, while the latter was born in Germany in 1986 when the future Russian president worked for the KGB.

The report further revealed that both girls are named after their grandmothers and that Maria's nickname is Masha while Katerina's is Katya. The girls reportedly attended a German-language school when the family moved to Moscow in 1996. However, they were removed from school and taught at home by dedicated educators once Putin became acting president.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, attends a wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, May 7, 2000 during swearing in ceremonies at the Kremlin in Moscow. (Getty Images)

"Not all fathers are as loving with their children as he is," Lyudmila is quoted as saying on Putin's government website. "And he has always spoiled them, while I was the one who had to discipline them." It was also revealed that Maria took up biology in college and proceeded to go to medical school in Moscow. Katerina, meanwhile, majored in Asian Studies. Both studied in the university under false identities.

Now 33, Maria is a successful medical researcher and lives with her Dutch husband, Jorrit Faassen, in Moscow.

The pair reportedly has a child, especially after Putin told filmmaker Oliver Stone in 2017 that he was a grandfather. And when asked if he could spend time with his grandchild, the Russian supremo replied, "Very seldom, unfortunately."

Katerina, now 31, reportedly lives the good life -- splurging in lavish apartments and acquiring a fortune. As of now, she is heading a $1.7 billion startup incubator at her alma mater, Moscow State University.

The acrobatic dancer married Russian billionaire Kirill Shamalov in 2013, but the pair called it off earlier this year. Divorce proceedings revealed the pair was worth at least $2 billion.

While there are no official photos of Putin's daughters, Business Insider found there was some debate over their actual names. "For Katerina, we found the first names 'Katerina', 'Katya', and 'Yekaterina', and the last names 'Putina', 'Tikhonova', and 'Shamalov,'" the report said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Ludmila Alexandrowa Putina arrive at the airport on June 6, 2007 in Rostock-Laage, Germany. (Getty Images)

Having said that, it is rumored that Putin has a third daughter with alleged girlfriend and former Russian rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva. However, neither the child nor the relationship has been officially confirmed. Kabaeva has been linked with the Russian leader for more than a decade and is now the head of a major Moscow media company. Speculation is rife that the pair already has a secret family — although such claims have been denied by the Kremlin outright.

For years, Kabaeva has not been linked to any other suitor despite being seen as one of Russia's most eligible women. It was Russian tabloid Moscow Korrespondent, owned by Putin's former KGB spy colleague Alexander Lebedev, that first revealed their alleged relationship.

Alina Kabayeva arrives at the Laureus World Sports Awards at the Mariinsky Concert Hall on February 18, 2008, in St.Petersburg, Russia. (Getty Images)

After resigning as a pro-Putin MP in the Russian parliament, Kabaeva became the head of the staunchly pro-Kremlin National Media Group in September 2014. According to reports, the group is known to control or hold key stakes in several newspapers and TV channels. Historically, the president is known to become tetchy when asked about his love life, and the subject is almost seen as taboo in Russia. 

Similarly, Putin has also tried to keep his children out of politics and away from media scrutiny so they can live normal lives.