Katerina Tikhonova, the youngest daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, flew more than 50 times to the German city of Munich between 2017 and 2019. This is according to a joint investigation by the Russian independent news website IStories and the German weekly The mirror† According to these news media, Tikhonova is in a relationship with Igor Zelensky, the former director of the Bavarian State Ballet.
Flight records obtained by both media outlets show that Tikhonova used an aircraft chartered at the expense of the Russian state on each of those flights, accompanied by agents from Putin’s own security service.
Spring 2020 flight dates also include the passports of a two-year-old girl and Igor Zelenski, the former director of the Bavarian State Ballet, a professional ballet company based in Munich. According to the report, Zelenski is believed to be Tikhonova’s partner and the father of her child.
Resignation from ballet company
Before he became director of the ballet company in 2016, Igor Zelensky (52) – who incidentally is not related to the Ukrainian president Volodimir Zelensky – was a ballet dancer of international renown. However, on April 4 of this year, he stepped down “due to family circumstances.” According to Serge Dorny, the company’s director, Zelensky was asked to resign after he refused to speak out publicly against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Furthermore, Zelensky is a member of the board of directors of the Russian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which is currently building a cultural center in Crimea and is said to have close ties with Putin.
“Probably a couple”
An anonymous source at the Bavarian State Ballet told Der Spiegel that Zelenski was “very likely” to be in a relationship with Tikhonova, 35, herself a former acrobatic rock ‘n’ roll dancer. Before that, she was married to Russian billionaire Kirill Shamalov, but according to IStories the couple divorced in 2017. Around the same time, Tikhonova began traveling to Munich on a regular basis.
To protect the child’s identity give IStories in The mirror the name of Tikhonova’s presumptive daughter, who was born in 2017, is not free, but it is noted that the girl has the patronymic Igorevna, which refers to her father’s first name.
The media was also able to view a letter and an email from 2019 in which Tikhonova indicated that he would move to Munich. However, her father has been very critical in recent months about Russians who prefer the west over their motherland. “The problem is that a lot of these people are mentally there, not here, not with our people, not with Russia,” Putin said in mid-March.
It is not known where Tikhonova and Zelenski are currently located.
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