Russian President Vladimir Putin’s youngest daughter, Yekaterina Tikhonova — whom he has yet to refer to by her name in public statements — made her state television debut on Thursday. She represented Moscow’s State University, and discussed a series of new scientific advancements.
According to BBC Monitoring, Tikhonova appeared on Russia state network Rossiya 1 for its main evening news bulletin, where she discussed technological advancements designed to control the brain’s electrical impulses. The 32-year-old Tikhonova was referred to on television as the deputy director of State University’s institute for mathematical research of complex systems — and as the head of a research firm called Innopraktika.
“It is very important that a neurocenter is built on the synergy of these technologies and on the real demand for them in the economy,” BBC Monitoring quoted Tikhonova as saying.
“Truly, we can say that at the same time a person comes to know both the capabilities of technology and of his own self.”
BBC Monitoring noted that Yekaterina Tikhonova, who is sometimes referred to by the first name Katerina, had previously been mentioned on Dozhd, a “small” liberal television channel in Russia, but had not made any prior appearances on federal networks. Per Business Insider, Tikhonova previously appeared as an acrobat at the World Rock ‘n’ Roll Federation dance competition.
Given her low profile in Russian media, much of Tikhonova’s personal life has been a mystery — as it was only in 2015 when multiple reports first claimed that she was one of Vladimir Putin’s two daughters. Around that time, rumors suggested that Tikhonova was married to businessman Kirill Shamalov, whom Forbes describes as Russia’s “youngest billionaire,” and the son of one of Putin’s longtime friends.
Spotted: President Putin's daughter makes rare appearance on Russian state TVhttps://t.co/izAworYtLk
— BBC Monitoring (@BBCMonitoring) December 7, 2018
While Putin chose, late in 2015, not to confirm or deny the reports that Tikhonova was his daughter, Business Insider wrote that Manfred Mohab, the World Rock ‘n’ Roll Federation’s president for legal affairs, confirmed to Reuters in 2017 that the two were indeed father and daughter.
Aside from Yekaterina Tikhonova, Vladimir Putin has a second daughter, Maria Putin, who, according to a 2014 report from the U.K.’s Channel 4, was living at the time on a suburban golf course in Surrey. Rumors had suggested that the Russian president also had a third daughter with his girlfriend in 2015, though his administration went on record to deny said reports. Putin did, however, make references to having two daughters and a grandchild in previous media statements, despite not having mentioned them by name.
According to Business Insider, Putin was married to Tikhonova’s mother for 29 years. He filed for divorce in 2013.