Putin’s daughter flew to Germany 50 times in two years

Katerina Tikhonova is believed to be dating former head of Bavarian State Ballet

Rory Sullivan
Friday 20 May 2022 12:46
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<p>Katerina Tikhonova, 35, is one of Vladimir Putin’s daughters with his ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya </p>

Katerina Tikhonova, 35, is one of Vladimir Putin’s daughters with his ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya

One of Vladimir Putin’s daughters flew from Moscow to Munich more than 50 times between 2017 and 2019, an investigation has found.

The disclosure about Katerina Tikhonova’s numerous visits to the Bavarian city comes just two months after her father criticised Russians who spend too much time in the west.

In a tirade made shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian president claimed this group “mentally exist there, and not here”, adding that they could be a potential “fifth column”.

As well as obtaining Ms Tikhonova’s flight records, the Russian website iStories and the German newspaper Der Spiegel gained access to emails from Russia’s presidential security service, which suggested she had relocated her family to Munich.

The documents also led to reports that Ms Tikhonova, the younger of Mr Putin’s two daughters with his ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, is in a relationship with Igor Zelensky, the former head of the Bavarian State Ballet. He accompanied her on the same Munich-Moscow flight in 2019.

Mr Zelensky stepped down from his position at the ballet company in April, citing “private family circumstances”. His resignation followed his silence on the war in Ukraine.

An anonymous source at the Bavarian State Ballet said the 52-year-old was “most likely the partner of Putin’s daughter”.

The flight logs also showed a young child travelling with Ms Tikhonova. The girl, believed to be a previously unknown grandchild of Mr Putin, was born in 2017, according to a scanned copy of her passport.

While iStories and Der Spiegel chose not to publish her name, they indicated she was likely to be Mr Zelensky’s daughter, as her patronymic Igorevna corresponds to his name.

Ms Tikhonova, a former rock-and-roll dancer, was previously married to Russia’s then youngest billionaire, Kirill Shamalov.

The 35-year-old was sanctioned along with her older sister by the US and the EU earlier this year, as they sought to put financial pressure on Mr Putin’s close circles over his war in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin previously worked for the KGB spy agency and spent five years working in Dresden, East Germany . He speaks German.

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