Investigative media outlet Proekt published an article Wednesday that claimed to have found a woman romantically linked to Putin whose daughter bears a “phenomenal resemblance” to the president. Svetlana Krivonogikh also apparently has assets worth up to $100 million, and ihas a stake in Bank Rossiya that belongs to Putin’s close friends.
- Krivonogikh grew up in a poor family and there is no evidence of her being involved in business before acquiring a significant holding in Bank Rossiya. Among her many assets, Krivonogikh owns part of the Igora ski resort where Putin’s daughter, Katerina Tikhonova, reportedly celebrated her wedding.
- Krivonogikh has a daughter, Yelizaveta, who was born in 2003. Her father is not named on her birth certificate, but her patronymic is listed as Vladimirovna. Proekt said it has seen photographs of her (although they did not publish them because she is still a minor), and that she “bears a phenomenal resemblance to the President of Russia.”
- In recent years, Yelizaveta has used a different surname and her social media accounts are under pseudonyms. Proekt sent photos of her to Professor Hassan Ugail, director of the Centre for Visual Computing at the University of Bradford in the U.K., and his analysis found a 70.44 percent similarity between Putin and the teenager.
- Krivonogikh refused to speak to a reporter from Proekt and Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that this was the first time he had heard her name.
Why the world should care
In a democratic country, reports like this would raise serious questions about high-level corruption, and the hypocrisy of official rhetoric about ‘family values’. But this is Russia, and the whole system is geared towards hiding every detail of Putin’s personal life. To this day, the president has never formally acknowledged his daughters, even though they both occupy senior positions in organizations backed financially by Putin’s friends.