Is This The Dark Reason Vladimir Putin Rarely Talks About His Daughters?

The recent sanctions placed on Russian President Vladimir Putin's daughters have raised interest in the women — especially since little is known about who they are. On April 6, the U.S. placed sanctions on Putin's daughters as a response to the "war crimes" Russia has commited in Ukraine, according to ABC News. The recent spotlight on Putin's daughters, Katerina Tikhonova, 35, and Maria Faassen, 36, reveals that there is little known about them.

Insider reports that his daughters are a product of his first marriage to ex-wife Lyudmila Shkrebneva, whom he divorced in 2013 after nearly 30 years of marriage. Maria was born in Russia and Katerina was born in Germany during the years Putin was in the KGB. The girls attended public schools until Putin became president of Russia, after which they were schooled at home. Maria is married to Jorrit Faassen, and the couple lives in Moscow with their one child. Other than that, there is little known about her family.

More is known about Katerina, who married Kirill Shamalov in 2013 and divorced him in 2018. Katerina is currently deputy director of the Institute for Mathematical Research of Complex Systems at Moscow State University. She appeared at a conference in 2021, but interestingly, no one addressed her relation to Putin (via Insider).

Putin has tried to protect his daughter's privacy

Putin rarely speaks of his family, and he has attempted to shield them from any attention. The Australian website, News, reports that the Russian leader has fought to keep his daughters' lives private. Both girls have used false identities at times, and both used fake names when they attended college (via Insider).

According to News, people who attempt to report about Putin's private life face not-so-pleasant consequences. An example of this occurred when the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Korrespondent reported that Putin was divorcing his wife and planning to marry gymnast Alina Kavaeva. Russian agents raided the offices and questioned journalists working there. Shortly thereafter, the paper was reportedly shut down.

When Putin does speak about his children, he always does so with a warmhearted nature. At a 2015 press conference, he said he was proud of them, adding that they both speak three languages and were successful. In 2017, he said that they were involved with education and science and weren't involved with politics. As for his grandchildren, Putin said that he did not want them to live like princes, adding that he wanted them to live normal lives. For that reason, he does not mention their names or ages, claiming it would damage their development.

The truth might be a little different

While Putin claims he wants his daughters to live a normal life, the reasons why he rarely speaks about them may be darker than what the public is led to believe. Two analysts speaking with CNN explained what they thought was behind all the secrecy regarding the leader's tight-lipped behavior. 

Journalist Casey Michel of Hudson Institute's Kleptocracy Initiative told the network that while Putin acknowledges being a good family man, he is more interested in appearing with the Russian Orthodox Church, in military situations, or riding a horse while shirtless, where he can project his strength and power. "Family in many ways is weakness," Michel said.

But University of New Haven Professor Howard Stoffer has a different take on why the Russian president doesn't speak much about his daughters. "He doesn't want to be vulnerable to anybody else doing something to him," Stoffer said, suggesting that the more that is known about them, the more damage could be done to him (via CNN).

Putin may have more children

Since Putin is so private about his family, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that he might have other children that he is keeping a secret. Page Six reports that the Russian leader has four children with Olympic medal winner and rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva. Some have speculated that the two were even wed in a private ceremony. A source told the publication that he has twin daughters who were born in 2015 and twin sons born in 2019 with Kabaeva, and that she and the children live in Switzerland. If that's true, neither Putin nor Kabaeva are admitting it publicly. 

Putin has let it be known that he expects his private life to remain private. He once said that he did not permit interference with his personal life, adding that it must be respected. He also said that he always reacts negatively when people "prowl" into the lives of others (via Page Six).