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Extremely rare photos of Putin's daughters taken when he first took power

12:02 | 29/06/2020

Two daughters's unseen photos of the Russian leader have emerged from his one-time closest confidant's private collection. 

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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 of Putin, Daily Mail reported.

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Pictured from left to right: Alexander and Viktor Pugachev and Maria and Ektaterina Putin in the Kremlin library in the early 2000s. Photo: Daily Mail

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. 

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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. Photo: Daily Mail

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.  

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Ekaterina và Maria Putina (ảnh ở giữa) được bao quanh bởi các thành viên của nhóm nhạc pop Nga Strelki vào đầu những năm 2000. Photo: Daily Mail

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. 

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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. Photo: Daily Mail

Little is known of her, but she is said to be a fan of Little Britain starring David Walliams and Matt Lucas, and she listed her favourite book as 'Memoirs of a Geisha' by Arthur Golden.

Katerina, 33, known by the family name of her maternal grandmother, Tikhonova, has gone from being a high-kicking 'rock'n'roll' dancer to spearhead a major new Russian artificial intelligence initiative. 

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Maria Putina and Viktor Pugachev chat during a private party at former Putin crony Sergei Pugachev's country house. Photo: Daily Mail

She came to prominence earlier with her spectacular 'boogle woogle' Acrobatic Rock'n'roll performances in dance competitions. She has a doctorate from prestigious Moscow State University after completing a study on helping cosmonauts and pilots to orientate themselves in difficult conditions.

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Katerina Putina looks at Pugachev's son Alexander during a party at his country house in the early 2000s. Photo: Daily Mail

She was formerly married to Russia's youngest billionaire Kirill Shamalov, 38. The couple were reported to have divorced after which he wed glamorous socialite Zhanna Volkova, in her 30s.

Claims that Putin has a new family have never been confirmed. Ex-KGB spy Putin once said of Maria and Katerina: 'They are taking the first steps in their careers, but are making good progress. They are not involved in business or politics.

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Maria Putina, who now uses the surname Vorontsova, is pictured in an undated photograph. Maria has a career in medical research and is an expert on dwarfism. Photo: Daily Mail

'They have never been 'star' children, they have never got pleasure from the spotlight being directed on them. They just live their own lives.

'They live in Russia ... They have never been educated anywhere except Russia. 'I am proud of them, they continue to study and are working. My daughters speak three European languages fluently.'

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Little is known of Maria (pictured enjoying a takeaway meal and champagne, right), but she is said to be a fan of Little Britain starring David Walliams and Matt Lucas, and she listed her favourite book as 'Memoirs of a Geisha' by Arthur Golden. Photo: Daily Mail

Pugachev, an ex-senator and formerly one of Russia's wealthiest oligarchs, was once known as Putin's 'cashier'. He has claimed to have posted the Putin family pictures years ago but, if so, they were not widely seen.

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Maria, pictured centre, is believed to be married to a Dutch businessman with whom she has a family, making Putin a grandfather. Photo: Daily Mail
Ekaterina Tikhonova, believed to be Putin's daughter, is now spearheading a Russian artificial intelligence initiative. Photo: Daily Mail
Katerina, 33, known by the family name of her maternal grandmother, Tikhonova, was once a rock'n'roll dancer but has now moved to work on a new Russian artificial intelligence initiative. Photo: Daily Mail
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