Previously unseen photographs of President Vladimir Putin’s rumored daughters have emerged in the archives of the fugitive tycoon once dubbed “Putin’s banker.”
Sergei Pugachev, 57, is credited with helping Putin ascend to the presidency in 1999. He became a French citizen a decade later and left Russia in 2011 after falling out with some of Putin’s powerful allies in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
Several photographs on Pugachev’s website depicted two teenage girls identified as “Katerina and Mariya Putina.” Several media outlets have identified Katerina, who now goes by the last name Tikhonova, and Maria, formerly Faassen and now Vorontsova, as Putin’s younger and older daughters.
Captions below the photos identifying the teenagers say that they were allegedly taken at Pugachev’s dacha and the Kremlin sometime in the 2000s.
Pugachev later told journalist Marc Bennetts that the photos have been on his website for a decade and that "no one has ever paid any attention to them."
Vorontsova, an endocrinologist who specializes in pediatric growth disorders, is reported to be involved in Russia’s development of genetics, including controversial gene-editing technology. Tikhonova runs publicly funded projects and takes part in competitive rock'n'roll dancing.
Putin, who has been divorced since 2013, has repeatedly dodged questions to confirm or deny reports about his familial relations to Vorontsova and Tikhonova. Neither woman has confirmed being Putin’s daughter.