On November 28, it was confirmed that Katerina Tikhonova is the younger daughter of Vladimir Putin. While there has long been speculation that Tikhonova — who uses the surname of her grandmother — was the daughter of Russia’s president, it has never been confirmed.
According to Reuters, a World Rock‘n‘Roll Confederation (WRRC) official identified Tikhonova as Putin’s daughter.
“WRRC Vice President for Legal Affairs Manfred Mohab told Reuters he knew Tikhonova through their work together on the confederation’s presidium. When asked whether he knew Tikhonova was Putin’s daughter, he said: ‘Yes. I know her, yes of course.’ Asked a second time, he nodded and said: ‘Yes,’” Reuters reports.
Her mother is Putin’s ex-wife, Lyudmila.
Here is what you need to know:
1. She Is a Dancer
Tikhonova is an accomplished dancer who has competed in the world of acro-dance for many years.
The 31-year-old is part of the acrobatic rock‘n‘roll, which is described as “a niche dance discipline she has competed in and helps manage through senior positions at the WRRC and the Russian national federation,” by Reuters.
“Tikhonova has competed in a number of tournaments in acrobatic rock’n’roll, a discipline for couples that involves a mixture of energetic dancing and virtuosic acrobatic moves,” The Guardian reported last year.
You can watch one of her performances in the video below.
2. She Is Married to Kirill Shamalov
Tikhonova is married to the son of one of her father’s friends. Her husband, Kirill Shamalov, is the son of Nikolay Shamalov, who co-owns Rossiya Bank. The younger Shamalov is the vice president of a Russian gas company called Sibur Holding. According to the Express UK, “the Russian government holds 38 per cent of the shares of the gas company.”
As one can imagine, Shamalov is very wealthy. In 2015, Tikhonova and Shamalov had an estimated net worth of $2 billion.
“Also among the young couple’s holdings is a seaside villa in Biarritz, France, estimated to be worth about $3.7 million. That asset, too, was acquired by Kirill from Timchenko, a commodities trader who has known the president since at least the 1990s,” Reuters reported back in 2015.
3. She Has an Older Sister Named Maria
Putin’s other daughter, Maria (sometimes spelled Mariya), was previously identified by the media. Maria Putin lives in the Netherlands. Many believe that Maria had previously been living with her boyfriend Jorrit Faassen in the village of Voorschoten. According to the Mirror, the two resided in a penthouse in the area, known for its wealth. It has been reported that Maria and Jorrit have since moved out of the building, however.
According to Reuters, Maria attended Moscow State University where she graduated from the school’s Fundamental Medicine Department. Maria had sought a career in endocrinology. In 2012, the New York Times reported that Maria attended St. Petersburg State University where she studied biology.
Her boyfriend works as an executive of a gas company called Gazprom.
When Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in 2014 and Russia was at the center of controversy over the downed plane, Maria was no where to be found. At least one person who knew Maria said that she hadn’t been seen for over a week after MH17 crashed.
Not much else is known about Maria, especially her whereabouts in recent years, as her life is kept extremely private.
4. She Attended the German School Moscow & Runs Projects at Moscow State University
Tikhonova attended the German School Moscow. The private school is located in Troparyovo-Nikulino District, Western Administrative Okrug, Moscow, Russia. Students who attend the school are spoken to and taught in the German language. According to the New York Times, Tikhonova majored in Asian Studies at St. Petersburg State University.
Tikhonova works at Moscow State University, where she holds a senior position, according to Reuters. It has been reported that she runs two initiatives at the school: the National Intellectual Development Foundation (NIDF) and the National Intellectual Reserve Centre (NIRC).
“She helps direct a $1.7 billion plan to expand its campus. Katerina’s official advisers at Moscow State University include five members of Putin’s inner circle – including two former KGB officers who knew her when she was a toddler. They served with her father in the 1980s when he was deployed to Dresden, East Germany,” the outlet reported two years ago.
5. In October, The Sun Reported that Putin Wanted to ‘Groom’ His Youngest Daughter to ‘Lead Russia’
Putin does not have any sons, which means that his successor would have to be one of his two daughters. Some outlets — like The Sun — have reported that Putin is “grooming” his youngest daughter for the role.
“Trying to run a woman through an election campaign in Russia is quite an interesting and modern political experiment. Putin does not have a (male) heir – at least officially – but he has two daughters, and one of them, Ekaterina, has already entered the public space with several huge and costly projects,” Putin biographer Natalia Gevorkyan, wrote for the Radio Svoboda website, according to The Sun.
“In 2024, Ekaterina will be 38. In theory, she can take part in the presidential elections and provide a calm time in old age for her father and his closest friends,” Gevorkyan added.