New York Post:
Rare photos have emerged of Vladimir Putin’s two “secret” daughters — released by a former right-hand man who just lost a $12 billion lawsuit against Russia, according to reports.
Maria and Katerina, long thought to be the Russian president’s daughters from his first marriage to Lyudmila Putin, are seen in a series of snaps from when they were teenagers.
Neither has ever confirmed being the Soviet leader’s offspring — and even as recently as December, Putin deflected questions that would confirm their identities.
The images were posted on the website of Sergei Pugachev, a former billionaire confidant who once claimed to the Financial Times that he “personally brought Putin to power.”
Pugachev later fled his homeland, however, when hit with serious legal charges for an alleged Ponzi-style scam with a bank he owns. After fleeing abroad, he then tried to sue Russia for $12 billion for allegedly expropriating his assets — a claim the Hague International Arbitration Court refused to consider this week, Pugachev confirmed, while vowing to press on.
Fully aware of his former friend’s tight secrecy over his family, Pugachev posted the images of the then-teenagers with his own children, writing, “Young friendship is forever!!!,” according to Russia’s OpenMedia, which first reported on the images.
Both are now in their 30s, but the shots show the president’s daughters both inside the Kremlin and at Pugachev’s then-home near Moscow.