Vladimir Putin does not like to talk about his family. But he seems to take very benevolent care of daughters and ex-wife. And also about their secret partners.
Moscow – The family is sacred. Obviously, also for Vladimir Putin. Although the Kremlin chief, who unleashed the Ukraine war, is making his own a big secret. In any case, the 70-year-old seems to want only the best for his two daughters, as well as for his ex-wife. This is revealed by research by Proekt, an independent Russian media company specializing in investigative journalism.
The extent to which Putin holds his hand over the most important women in his life is shown by the investigative reporters in cooperation with the Riga-based Internet newspaper Meduza, the Russian research platform IStories and the journalist network Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). According to the report, Russia's powerful president knows his daughters Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova are close to him, as well as their mother Lyudmila Putina, with whom he was married for three decades until 2013.
Putin apparently presents son-in-law with luxury house near Moscow
At the center of the research is Tikhonova, because the information comes from hacked correspondence of her ex-husband Kirill Shamalov, which was then passed on to journalists. He is the son of Putin's close friend Nikolai Shamalov, a powerful banker.
According to the report, Tikhonov and Shamalov were married in church on February 24, 2013 – exactly nine years to the day before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, this marriage is said to have never been registered. Shamalov had always claimed to be single on documents that could be viewed.
Interestingly, this also applies to a statement "to the competent authorities" during a bureaucratic real estate procedure for a luxury house in Rublyovka, a villa area west of Moscow. This property, however, is said to have been a wedding gift for the husband. Apparently by none other than the prominent father-in-law.+
At that time, they were still husband and wife, and he was still welcome in Germany: Vladimir Putin and Lyudmila Putina arrived in Heiligendamm for the G2007 summit in the summer of 8.
© IMAGO / photothek
Putin and women: extramarital relations seem to be the norm
Extramarital relations are widespread among the Putins, as Proekt points out. The liaison between the head of the family himself and Alina Kabaeva, who won Olympic gold in rhythmic gymnastics in 2004 and is a good 30 years younger than Putin, is listed. Or the relationship of his eldest daughter Vorontsova with the Dutch entrepreneur Jorrit Faassen, which is also unregistered.
The members of the ruling family would allow these unofficial partnerships to live in a kind of "tsar's village" at the gates of Moscow. Which works under the guise of security and offshore regulations.
According to the research, in mid-2006 the company Ermira Consultants Limited, which had been registered in Cyprus only three years earlier, bought a plot of land adjacent to Putin's residence, which his daughters now share. The company calls Proekt "the president's personal wallet." In order to keep his loved ones as close as possible, the busy father made sure that the real estate became a dowry for the wedding, according to the research.
Vladimir Putin: The Russian leader's political career in pictures
Vladimir Putin: The Russian leader's political career in pictures
Villas for the Putin family: offshore companies from Cyprus or Panama buy land
After her big day, Vorontsova settled very close to Putin's Novo-Ogaryovo estate. Officially, however, the property, whose value is estimated at 350 million rubles (today that is about four million euros), remained in the possession of offshore companies.
Two other plots of land and houses belonged to offshore companies based in Panama, where the independent Russian newspaper The Moscow Times provides the names Topsail Commercial Development and Dorrington Commercial. These plots remained unused for seven years until Tikhonova's wedding, and two weeks before the secret marriage they became the property of Shamalov, writes Proekt. Which meant that Putin's daughter had no formal connection to the piece of land. Better safe than sorry – the powerful Kremlin boss must have thought.
Video: This is how expensive Putin's security is for Russia
Putin's son-in-law Shamalov gets villa overwritten: daughter's dowry for secret wedding
According to the research, it is very likely that he had his fingers in the game. Because the hacked documents reveal that the couple had been discussing the furnishing of the house since at least 2012. Because it was apparently already in the possession of the ruling family at that time, even if it officially still belonged to a company from Panama.
Tikhonova and Shamalov were apparently not too shy for any pomp. In the exchange of letters, a cost estimate of nine million euros is said to have been discovered. A chandelier for the kitchen alone would have cost 72,000 euros.
With the payments, however, the later homeowner did not take it so seriously. Construction manager Maria Shkolnikova, for example, complained that an invoice for 900,000 euros remained open for many months. She also explained that she had often been put off by pointing out that the money would flow in the same week, but that she also had to advance sums for subcontractors.
New partner of Putin-Ex: Ocheretnyj is also allowed to choose a villa
The second house bought by the offshore company from Panama on this street was also officially signed over to Putin's son-in-law. Which could also be related to the fact that shortly after the wedding of Tikhonova and Shamalov, Putin's marriage ended in divorce. His ex-wife found a new life partner in Artur Ocheretnyi.
Although it was a largely blank slate at the time, the relationship obviously had the blessing of the Kremlin chief. Because he made sure that the mother of his children could spend as much time as possible with the two daughters. And not only in the Tsar's village near Moscow.
A trace of the research also leads to the Atlantic coast. As early as October 2012, Shamalov is said to have bought a four-storey seven-bedroom villa in Biarritz, a seaside and spa resort in the French part of the Basque Country. For 4.5 million euros. From Gennady Timchenko, a long-time business partner and close friend of Putin.
The area must also have appealed to Ocheretnyi, who bought a villa in the town of Anglet for himself and Putina in December 2013. The two properties are just a nine-minute drive from each other. The suspicion is that Putin paid for the 5.3 million euros called.+
Biarritz on the Atlantic coast was at least temporarily the domicile of some members of the Putin family.
© IMAGO / PanoramiC
Putin-Ex in the Tsar's Village: New partner also gets land - officially from Putin's son-in-law
But things got even better for Ocheretnyi, the newest member of the ruling family. In the same month, according to the research, Shamalov sent him a letter with a power of attorney, giving him the power of disposal of the second property on the street near Putin's residence. It was the official ticket to the Tsar's Village. Here, too, a four-story house was waiting for life inside.
However, it remains to be seen who really has the decision-making power over all the properties. In 2015, Tikhonova and Shamalov still allowed themselves twelve hectares of land on the banks of the Moskva River, also in his name. The neighbors there are Dmitry Medvedev, former president and later prime minister by Putin's grace, and Timchenko, who was later to present himself to Shamalov for an unpleasant reason.
The new property is just a fifteen-minute drive from Putin's residence. At the time, the couple was planning a 4,500-square-meter villa, but by spring 2016 at the latest, the secret couple began to have a crisis. From then on, Shamalov was much more interested in his future wife Zhanna Volkova, which was to have serious consequences for him.
Putin's ex-son-in-law is dropped: two houses and a plot of land under value buttoned up
Because the family is sacred to Putin. And Shamalov no longer belonged to it. Six months later, he lost all his shares in Sibur, Russia's largest oil and gas company. It is said to have been the equivalent of about 1.85 billion euros – most of which was taken over by some of the president's many friends.
Then Timchenko and Arkady Rotenberg, another close friend of Putin, came on the scene. Both are said to have received an order in 2019 to confiscate the properties registered on Shamalov. In October, he handed over two houses and a plot of land to Coral, a company of lawyers from Rotenberg's circle.
In this context, as with many transactions for Putin, according to the report, a Western bank was tapped, with large sums of money deposited. Coral received 2.37 billion rubles – about 27 million euros – from Timchenko's account of a Swiss bank, as financial documents reveal, almost the entire sum was then transferred to Shamalov's account as part of a real estate purchase contract – so that Putin's ex-son-in-law received "almost three times less than he was entitled to". Complaint pointless.
Villa in Biarritz, France: Rock under building in danger of collapsing - Putin has no interest
After all, the ex-son-in-law of the Kremlin chief was allowed to keep the villa in Biarritz. However, probably not out of pure kindness. As it turned out, the building had been built on a rock in danger of collapsing. A reinforcement of the subsoil would have devoured five million euros. But the money was no longer so loose with Shamalov: He is said to have disregarded his former home with a sea view, neither paid the bills nor paid for the maintenance.
Thus, the property faces an unsightly end. After all, it's no longer a family affair. (mg)