One of Vladimir Putin’s main opponents may have broken a taboo by publishing what he claims is the pseudonym used by one of the Russian President’s daughters.
Mr Putin has made his and his family’s private life little less than a state secret, keeping his rarely photographed daughters Yekaterina, 28, and Maria, 29, out of sight. But opposition blogger Alexei Navalny published on his Facebook page an online report which identified a certain Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova as the head of an organisation working with Moscow State University.
A separate report by RBC, an independent multimedia holding, stated Ms Tikhonova was among those heading a £1.1bn project to build new university facilities, but it did not make any connection between her and Mr Putin. Mr Navalny wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday: “RBC (they are cool!) yesterday found Putin’s daughter in the Scientific Council of Moscow State University.” A source close to Moscow State University confirmed Ms Tikhonova was Putin’s daughter.
The Kremlin often brushes aside questions about Mr Putin’s private life. Asked about the woman’s identity, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “I don’t know who she is.” Asked whether Mr Putin’s daughter works for Moscow State University, he answered: “I don’t know. It’s not my job. I deal with the President, not his children.”
RBC wrote on Wednesday about a project under which Moscow State University would be expanded. Under the headline “Who stands behind the MSU expansion”, it wrote that Ms Tikhonova was in charge of Innopraktika, an organisation that was helping prepare the $1.7bn project.
RBC did not make any direct link to Mr Putin, and said Ms Tikhonova had declined an interview request. Sergey Aleksashenko, an opposition figure, questioned in a blog whether it was correct for Ms Tikhonova to hold such a role if she is indeed Mr Putin’s daughter. “If this is true, it means that Vladimir Putin has crossed one of those ‘red lines’ he once drew for himself,” he wrote.
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