Russian President Vladimir Putin has never been loved in western countries. Leaving aside the alleged meddling in the U.S. and European elections and the clandestine friendship with former President Donald Trump, Putin didn't have a lot of friends in the Western world. According to estimates, he's among the richest people globally with his net worth over $200 billion. Is Putin married and does he have children?
Net worth: $200 billion (estimated)
Vladimir Putin was born in Leningrad. He had a humble background and his father was a conscript in the Soviet Navy while his mother was a factory worker. He was a KGB spy before entering politics. Putin has been in power in Russia in one form or another since 1999.
Birthdate: October 7, 1952
Education: Graduated from Leningrad State University in 1975, studied law
Ex-wife: Lyudmila Shkrebnev (m. 1985 and d. 2013)
Children: 2 daughters (Maria and Katerina)
Putin was first elected as the Russian president in 1999 when then-president Boris Yeltsin selected him as his successor. He has since been the country’s president but for four years between 2008 to 2012 when he became the Prime Minister under a figurehead president. However, for all practical reasons, he has been in charge of Russia for over 21 years now.
Putin was married, but got divorced in 2013.
Putin married former flight attendant Lyudmila Shkrebnev in 1985. However, they got divorced in 2013. Putin hasn’t married since but is rumored to have girlfriends. Previously, Putin was reportedly dating Svetlana Krivonogikh.
Alina Kabaeva is rumored to be Putin's girlfriend.
Alina Kabaeva is rumored to be Putin's girlfriend since 2008. Kabaeva was a gymnast and has since entered politics. While they have never acknowledged their partnership, Putin and Kabaeva are also rumored to have a child. There is a 30 year age gap between Putin and Kabaeva.
Alexi Navalny, a Putin critic, was poisoned in 2020, which led to global outrage against Putin. Navalny has claimed that Putin secretly married Kabaeva. Many people think that she's the reason for Putin's divorce. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied the rumors of Putin's marriage and said that it's gossip.
Putin has two daughters.
Putin has two daughters with Shkrebnev. The first daughter, Maria, was born in 1985 in Leningrad. The couple had their second daughter, Katerina, in 1986 in Germany where Putin was serving as a spy of the now disbanded Soviet spy agency KGB.
Maria is a medical researcher and lives in Moscow with her husband Jorrit Faassen. Katerina is an acrobatic dancer and holds a senior position at Moscow State University. Not much is known about Putin’s daughters, but Maria reportedly has a child. In 2020, Putin said that one of his daughters was administered a Russian COVID-19 vaccine, but he didn't say whether it was Maria or Katerina.
What’s Putin’s net worth?
Aside from Putin's personal life, many people are interested in his net worth. We don’t have credible data on Putin’s net worth and estimates on his wealth vary. In 2015, Forbes said that it wouldn't add Putin to its list of billionaires since it can't certify that he holds assets over $1 billion.
In 2012, Stanislav Belkovsky, a Putin critic, estimated his net worth at $70 billion. Swedish economist Anders Aslund put Putin’s net worth between $100 billion and $150 billion. Bill Browder, another Putin critic, thinks that the Russian president's net worth is $200 billion.
Is Putin really worth $200 billion?
Most estimates of Putin’s net worth revolve around the assumption that those in his inner circle owe a lot of his wealth to him. Some people don't think that it's possible to derive Putin's net worth since he pretty much owns Russia, which has a vast pool of natural resources, especially energy.
In almost every global expose from Panama Papers to Pandora Papers, people linked with Putin have been alleged to hold illicit money. For example, several people close to Putin including his best friend the late Petr Kolbin were on the Pandora Papers list.
Many see a quid pro quo between Russian oligarchs and Putin who got rich with “help” from Putin. The initial sanctions against Russia are directed at the oligarchs, who are seen as Putin's proxies.
Even though there's uncertainty about Putin’s net worth, he's certainly among the most powerful persons in the world. More importantly, he doesn't back out from displaying hard power, as is the case with his decision to invade Ukraine despite the threat of sanctions.