Vladimir Putin: Craziest Life Facts to Know
For a man who has consistently been named the most powerful person on the planet, Russian president Vladimir Putin certainly doesn’t fall below expectations.
He is probably one of the most polarizing figures that anyone can think about, as there hardly seems to be any middle ground when arguing with someone about Putin. People either see him as one of the greatest leaders a nation ever had, or label him as a ruthless dictator that controls the world’s largest country with an iron fist.
Seriously, just try and find someone who thinks he’s “just alright.” I bet it won’t be easy. You can’t just like or dislike Putin, you either love him or despise him. But, to be honest, much like many other powerful leaders, the truth is always in the middle, although most people only see the sides.
Few things can be said with absolute certainty about a man like Putin, and one of them is that he definitely is someone who cares a lot about his image. And while many critics laugh at photos of Putin swimming in a frozen lake or riding on the back of a horse without his shirt on, I think he very much understands that the public sees a leader like him as the personification of his country, and the image of a strong powerful Putin equates in most people’s minds with a strong and powerful Russia.
Now, whether you see him as a great leader or as a scary dictator, here are some things you should know about him from both sides. But, keep in mind that the source of all the information most people (including us) have about Putin is the media, and we all know that you can’t always trust the media.
1.Putin has two adult daughters
Putin has two adult daughters – Maria, 30, and Katerina, 29. Maria and Katerina are the products of Putin’s first marriage to former Aeroflot flight attendant Lyudmila Shkrebneva. The couple wed in 1983, and for the most part Putin kept her entirely out of the spotlight.
Putin split from Lyudmila in 2013. The Kremlin confirmed the divorce had been finalized in April 2014. Lyudmila vanished, but as Putin’s daughters age, it’s become more difficult to keep them out of the spotlight.
Katerina, once a competitive acrobatic dancer who finished fifth in a Swiss world championship, is now reportedly heading up a company overseeing a $1.7 billion construction effort at Moscow University. She has no known experience in construction and development, but her advisers include a pair of former KGB agents with longstanding ties to her father.
In 2013, Katerina discreetly married petrochemical investor Kirill Shamalov, a longtime crony of her dad. The wedding took place at a heavily guarded ski resort. Soon after, Shamalov got his hands on a 17 percent stake in a firm called Sibur, the largest petrochemical holding company in Russia. He bought the shares in 2014 for an undisclosed sum from billionaire businessman Gennady Timchenko, a former judo partner of Putin’s.
Less is known about Putin’s elder daughter, Maria. She was reportedly named after Putin’s mother and studied biology at St. Petersburg State University. In 2014, the first daughter was living with her Dutch partner, Jorrit Faassen, an executive with the Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom. But in July of that year, the Dutch reportedly drove Maria out of the country following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which departed from Amsterdam and was shot down by pro-Russia insurgents in Ukraine.