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Since the start of his military campaign against Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has railed aggressively against pro-Western Russians, whose appetite for European cuisine and climates meant “their mentality is there, not here. , with our people”.

Yet his own daughter’s enthusiasm for trips to Western Europe at least matches that of the ‘scum and traitor’ oligarch he decried, according to a joint investigation by independent Russian media iStories and German magazine Der Spiegel .

According to flight records obtained by the two publications, Putin’s youngest daughter, Katerina Tikhonova, visited Munich in southern Germany “more than 50 times” between 2017 and 2019, traveling on charter flights with full state support and in the company of Putin employees. own presidential security service.

Among the leaked cache of documents relating to a series of flights between Moscow and Munich in the spring of 2020 are the passports of a then two-year-old girl – apparently a previously unknown granddaughter of the Russian president – ​​and Igor Zelensky , the former director of the Munich State Ballet. The report indicates that it is likely that Zelensky is Tikhonova’s partner and the father of her child.

Unrelated to the Ukrainian president of the same surname, Igor Zelensky, 52, was an internationally renowned dancer before becoming artistic director of the Bayerisches Staatsballet in 2016. He resigned from his position on April 4 for “reasons private families”. failing to respond to calls to condemn Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine.

Zelensky still has a post on the supervisory board of Russia’s National Cultural Heritage Foundation, which is building a cultural center in Crimea and is said to be close to Putin.

An unnamed Bavarian state ballet source told Der Spiegel that Zelensky was “most likely a partner of Putin’s daughter”, before reporters specifically asked about his family ties.

Tikhonova, 35, a former acrobatic rock’n’roll dancer herself, was previously married to Kirill Shamalov, once Russia’s youngest billionaire, although the couple split in 2018.

While iStories and Der Spiegel did not release the name of the child born in 2017, media outlets wrote that the girl’s surname was Igorevna, which would match former ballet director Igor Zelensky.

Tikhonova did not respond to a request from Der Spiegel. His current fate and that of Zelensky are unknown.

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