Russian President Vladimir Putin's eldest daughter, Maria Vorontsova, recently made headlines with a 42-minute interview that went largely unnoticed at first. Conducted for the Russian podcast #ProNauku, the interview focused on Vorontsov's expertise in science, medicine and her research in the field of genetics, specifically the study of the human genome.
Posted on the "Promoted Russia" YouTube channel, the interview gained attention after it was highlighted by Russian media and social media users on January 11. The channel had very few subscribers and did not enjoy much popularity on the social network.
Vorontsova, 38 years old, is a doctor and scientist who shared an insight into her work and health projects in which she is involved, speaking very humbly and precisely. Putin's daughter has avoided discussing political issues, including the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
It is significant that she did not mention her father, Vladimir Putin, and the Kremlin continues to keep the details of the president's family members secret. Although Putin never officially confirmed Vorontsova as his daughter, official documents and Russian media list her as Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova, born in 1985.
We must mention that he also never denied these claims. Despite claims of no involvement in politics or business, investigative journalists discovered that Vorontsova founded the company "Nomeko" in Moscow in 2019, focusing on health care projects.
The company reportedly earned 232 million rubles (€2.4 million) in 2020, according to information from Alexei Navalny's research team. Navalny's associates also highlighted the financial ties between "Nomek" and "SOGAZ Medizina", a company that is associated with influential figures from Putin's inner circle.
So the public's assumptions are that they still talk and cooperate in secret or through intermediaries.
Versatile activities and hobbies
In addition to shedding light on her professional life, Vorontsova also shared personal aspects during the interview.
She spoke of her childhood ambition to become a doctor, her interest in literature, citing Pushkin, Dostoyevsky and Huxley as her favorite writers. Vorontsova also revealed a wide range of interests, including art, music and sports, noting her love of classical and jazz music.
Her varied interests extend to sports, where she devotes several hours a week to activities such as surfing and skiing. He is a big fan of extreme sports and horse riding. The question is whether Vladimir Putin is secretly proud of his unrecognized daughter, given the successful and dynamic life she leads.
Vorontsova's life path includes years of living and studying in Germany, followed by a period in the Netherlands with her ex-husband, Dutch businessman Jorit Fasen. After Russia's aggression against Ukraine in 2022, both of Putin's daughters, including Vorontsova, faced sanctions from the European Union, the UK and the US, leading to bank account freezes and travel restrictions.
Strong reactions to the interview in Russia and Europe
The interview with Putin's eldest daughter caused intense reactions in Russia, Ukraine and Germany, sparking debates among bloggers and social media platforms. Some were very brutal in their statements, so it seemed completely opposite to what we could hear in the interview.
In Russia, numerous users, especially on Xx, criticized Vorontsova, accusing her of hypocrisy. Namely, the Russian journalist Andrey Sakharov, among the first to comment on the interview, described her demeanor as nervous, pointing to cases in which she relied on clichés.
Sakharov, in a post on his Telegram channel, hinted at a potential investigation of the value of the jewelry that Vorontsova wore during the interview, and added that it was the right question that the presenter should have asked.
Many wrote that she had already received questions and that she had prepared for the interview earlier. We can notice obvious contradictions from what we could hear from Voroncova's mouth. At the same time, the interview caused anger in Germany, and the magazine "Spiegel" highlighted it under the title "Putin's daughter gives a bizarre interview about the value of human life".
German journalists expressed cynicism, noting the absence of any discussion of the war in the interview with Putin's daughter. After everything we could see and all the reactions, there remains a real possibility that Vorontsova prepared for the interview and received questions in advance so that it would all seem like a fairy tale.
Father of the nation
Maria Voroncova's appearance in the media is not her first, as she previously gave interviews in which she presented herself as an endocrinologist.
However, her recent high-profile interview, strategically timed ahead of the upcoming presidential election in March, is seen by media expert Jo Grebel as a potential shift in Putin's communications strategy. At 71, Putin is preparing for his fifth presidential term, and Grebel suggests the interview is an attempt to convey a closer image of the Russian leader as a family man.
It is known that Putin is an egoist who wants to enjoy both fear and respect, and throughout his career he presented himself as an alpha male who trains, practices martial arts and shoots weapons. Grebel analyzes Putin's historical message, stating that he presented himself as the leader of the entire nation, downplaying the importance of having a small family.
However, as the expert notes, it seems that Putin recognized the need for a modernized election campaign. Grebel argues that revealing Putin's family life, albeit cautiously, highlighting his daughter as a doctor and renowned scientist, is a calculated move to resonate positively with the electorate.
The timing of the interview, along with the emphasis on Putin's family, is interpreted by media experts as a strategic change in communication tactics ahead of the presidential elections. Putin probably wanted to show that he is entering the campaign seriously in order to ensure the credibility of the elections and to prove that there is no dictatorial regime in power in Russia.