Putin’s eldest daughter addresses St. Petersburg International Economic Forum — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Putin’s eldest daughter addresses St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

Russian pediatric endocrinologist Maria Vorontsova, also referred to as Maria Faassen, attends the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in St. Petersburg, Russia, 07 June 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE/ANATOLY MALTSEV

Russian pediatric endocrinologist Maria Vorontsova, also referred to as Maria Faassen, attends the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in St. Petersburg, Russia, 07 June 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE/ANATOLY MALTSEV

Following an appearance by Vladimir Putin’s second daughter at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Thursday, his eldest daughter Maria Vorontsova addressed a scientific panel at the forum on Friday.

Unlike her younger sister, Katerina Tikhonova, who spoke at the forum via video link, Vorontsova, an endocrinologist by training and a member of Russia’s Association for the Promotion of Science, appeared in person on a panel called Bioeconomy: Innovation and Bioproduction.

The only international guest to attend the panel discussion, which was moderated by Putin aide Andrey Fursenko, was Venezuela’s agriculture minister. Speaking for less than five minutes, Vorontsova stressed the importance of studying and developing biotechnology, as well as encouraging younger people to enter the field.

Discussion of Putin’s two daughters from his marriage to Lyudmila Putina has been a virtual taboo in Russia for years, with Putin making it very clear from his earliest days in power that his family was off-limits to the media. Nevertheless, both Vorontsova and Tikhonova have been the subject of investigations by independent media.

In January, corruption investigators working for opposition politician Alexey Navalny’s team discovered that Vorontsova had made over €10 million between 2019–2022 as an employee of the New Medical Company (NOMEKO), while independent media outlet Proekt reported last May that Vorontseva and her Dutch businessman husband Jorrit Faassen owned a large piece of land next to Putin’s official residence in the Moscow region village of Novo-Ogaryovo.

Only Tikhonova has addressed the flagship Russian economic forum in the past. While Vorontsova has previously twice attended SPIEF in 2019 and 2021, she did so as a delegate rather than as a speaker.

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