Unseen photos of Putin’s daughters taken when he first took power mysteriously emerge from collection of famously-private Vladimir’s former confidant who has just lost £11bn legal battle against Russian state
- Former Putin ally Pugachev lost an £11.6bn legal battle against Russia this week
- It is possible that the images of the girls were released to enrage Putin
- During Putin’s political career he always hid his children from the limelight
Pictures never before seen of Vladimir Putin‘s two daughters from his ex-wife have emerged from the private collection of his one-time closest confidant.
The images show Maria and Katerina as teenagers soon after the Kremlin leader took power in the early 2000s.
They appear to have been released to enrage Putin by former billionaire Sergei Pugachev, 57, a former close crony who this week lost a £11.6 billion legal battle against the Russian state in a Paris arbitration court.
Putin, 67, in his long political career always hid his children away from the limelight, never permitting them to be seen and rarely even speaking about them.
Both are now in their 30s but they show the president’s daughters both inside the Kremlin and at Pugachev’s dacha – or country house – near Moscow.
Pictured from left to right: Alexander and Viktor Pugachev and Maria and Ektaterina Putin in the Kremlin library in the early 2000s
Ekaterina (right) watches as her sister Maria plays pool with Sergei Pugachev’s son Alexander (second from left) and Viktor (left) in the Kremlin in the early 2000s
Ekaterina and Maria Putina (pictured in the centre) surrounded by members of Russian pop group Strelki in the early 2000s
Pictured left to right: Alexander Pugachev, Katerina and Maria Putina, and Viktor Pugachev at Russian billionaire Sergei Pugachev’s country house in the early 2000s
They are pictured with exiled Pugachev’s sons before he left his Russian wife to have three children with his British lover Countess Alexandra Tolstoy, a relationship that has now broken up in acrimony.
Photographs show the president’s girls and their friends along with Putin’s ex-wife waiting for him in the Kremlin.
In one, they are seen in Putin’s library in the Kremlin.
In another shot they are playing billiards on a table once used by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.
They are also seen at a private party with Russian pop group Strelki aka the Russian Spice Girls.
Today Maria, 35, who uses the surname Vorontsova, has a career in medical research and is an expert on dwarfism, according to reports.
She is believed to be married to a Dutch businessman with whom she has a family, making Putin a grandfather.
Sergei Pugachev (right) is pictured shaking hands with President Vladimir Putin shortly after he rose to power in the early 2000s
Maria Putina and Viktor Pugachev chat during a private party at former Putin crony Sergei Pugachev’s country house
Katerina Putina looks at Pugachev’s son Alexander during a party at his country house in the early 2000s