Maria Putin, the oldest of Vladimir Putin’s two daughters, is at the center of a media firestorm after it was discovered she lives in the Netherlands, where people are grieving over the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 and blaming her father for the plane getting shot down and for the deaths of 193 Dutch nationals.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Had Been Living in a Wealthy Dutch Village, but Hasn’t Been Seen Since the Plane Crashed
— Andreas Wegener (@Andreas_Wegener) July 24, 2014
The two live in a penthouse in the building pictured above, where people had planned to take part in an anti-Putin demonstration, reported the Daily Mirror.
Speculation grew that Maria may have fled Holland after The Mirror reported Thursday that a neighbor hadn’t seen Maria since Flight 17 crashed last week.
Dutch magazine HP de Tijd however reports that the magazine was sold in May and Putin no longer lives there.
2. Her Boyfriend Jorrit Faassen Has Served as an Executive for a Putin-Controlled Gas Giant
According to a 2012 New York Times profile of Putin’s daughters, Faassen has served as an executive at Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled gas company partially owned by Vladimir Putin.
The Times reported at the time:
Dutch and Russian news reports have connected Maria Putin to Jorrit Faassen, a Dutchman who has held high-level positions at subsidiaries of the Russian state gas company, Gazprom. One Dutch journalist who wrote about Mr. Faassen said he took his byline off the story for fear of reprisal. The article quoted a Dutch oil executive who said he met Maria Putin at a party in Moscow.
3. A Dutch Mayor Called for Her to be Deported, but Later Apologized
Opmerking over dochter Poetin op Radio 1 was niet verstandig. Deze kwam voort uit een gevoel van onmacht dat vele mensen zullen herkennen.
— Pieter Broertjes (@pieterbroertjes) July 23, 2014
Pieter Broertjes, the mayor of the Dutch city of Hilversum, suggested in a radio interview that Maria Putin be deported.
According to the New York Post, Broertjes said the following:
We could also deport Putin’s daughter from the Netherlands, because she lives in the Netherlands. Then you will have a totally different signal to give.
Brojerties later tweeted that the comment “was not wise” but that it “stemmed from a sense of powerlessness that many people will recognize.”
Ja kas- viena no Putina meitām- Marija (foto), dzīvo Holandē, ar vietējo- Jorrit Faassen. Nez kā viņai tur šovakar? pic.twitter.com/VJHxHzRgsh
— Nepareizais (@Nepareizais) July 17, 2014
4. She Has a Younger Sister Named Yekaterina
¿Conocíais a esta hija de Putin? Pues yo os la presento.. Se llama Yekaterina Putina. Tiene otra hija (María Putina) pic.twitter.com/ZyWD9WkOl4
— Bonobox (@Bonobox3) March 23, 2014
Yeketerina Putin, whose life — like Maria’s — is shrouded in mystery, is two years younger than Maria.
Yeketerina has been rumored to be dating the son of a South Korean admiral, and a South Korean newspaper reported in 2010 that the two were getting married, though the reports were never confirmed.
The Daily Telegraph summed up Yekaterina’s romance and her father’s feelings about it:
The assertion that Yekaterina is to marry – made by an authoritative South Korean newspaper – threatens to undermine the Russian prime minister’s painstaking efforts to keep his own personal life and that of his two daughters out of the limelight.
But the English-language JoongAng Daily newspaper said it had learnt that Yekaterina would soon marry the son of former Admiral Yoon Jong-Gu who worked at the South Korean embassy in Moscow in the 1990s.
It said that Mr Putin had initially been opposed to he marriage but had warmed to his prospective son-in-law after meeting him in person.
5. She Studied Biology at St. Petersburg State University
According to The Times:
Both daughters attended German-language schools and St. Petersburg State University, where Maria studied biology and Yekaterina majored in Asian Studies.