President Vladimir Putin’s alleged daughter will head a prestigious Moscow university’s artificial intelligence institute slated to open later in 2020, the Vedomosti business daily reported Friday.
Katerina Tikhonova, 33, who is widely believed to be Putin’s younger daughter, runs the Innopraktika foundation near Moscow State University (MSU). Founded in 2012, Innopraktika is a conglomerate of MSU’s National Intellectual Reserve Center and Tikhonova’s National Intellectual Development Foundation.
Innopraktika’s press service confirmed to Vedomosti that MSU’s AI institute was established alongside nine other advanced research institutes in 2019, and that Tikhonova was appointed its leader.
It will reportedly focus on basic and applied cognitive research and will be funded by the MSU’s development program. Vedomosti reported that the university invested 3.7 billion rubles ($59 million) into the institute’s broader advanced research program for 2017-2020, including 890 million rubles ($13 million) in 2020.
Russia’s Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) announced plans to establish an AI center in collaboration with MSU in May last year. Putin called the center “one of the most essential tools in the national strategy of developing AI technology” in June.
“The AI advancement institute’s creation at MSU will allow us to make a meaningful contribution in artificial intelligence research as well as the scientific, technological and commercial development of Russia’s AI companies,” an RDIF spokesperson told Vedomosti.
Innopraktika’s biggest clients include the oil giant Rosneft and the state nuclear energy company Rosatom.
While Reuters and Bloomberg have previously reported that Tikhonova is Putin's daughter, the president has never officially confirmed or denied the identities of his two alleged daughters, citing security concerns.