Rumours Don’t Stop Because of His Family Name: Putin has a Son-in-Law Named Zelensky
It is common knowledge that President Putin keeps his private life and that of his family as secret as possible. Nevertheless, Russian and German journalists have now discovered who his son-in-law is: Igor Zelensky. Because of his family name, which he shares with the Ukrainian president, there are now a lot of rumours.
“My family needs my support.” That was the reason Igor Zelenski (52), the world-renowned ex-ballet dancer and artistic director of the highly regarded Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich, gave when he announced his departure earlier than expected in April this year. The man still had a contract until 2026, but he would not take it off. Those family pursuits are “not compatible with my activities as an artistic director,” he added.
There has been no shortage of rumours ever since. Could Zelensky be related to the Ukrainian president with whom he shares his last name and moves to Ukraine to fight in the war? That was the suspicion because a Ukrainian flag has been flying above the opera house since the beginning of the war and during a performance, the Ukrainian cause was applauded, also by Zelensky, by the way.
But the truth is completely different, according to an in-depth investigation by Der Spiegel and the Russian magazine Vazhnye istori (Important Stories): Zelensky has been a couple with Katerina Tikhonova for years. The daughter of… Vladimir Putin. And therefore he was no longer wanted in Munich.
Zelensky is said to have been encouraged to resign for refusing to publicly condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine. Serge Dorni, director of the ballet house, told jokers posing as the Ukrainian culture minister. “We talked to him several times, and it became clear there that he had to leave the opera. He didn’t make that decision alone, I led him there.”
It is not known where Zelensky and Tikhonova have been since he departed from Munich. Vladimir Putin likes the spotlight, as long as it doesn’t shine on his own private life, and so do his daughters. Katerina Tikhonova (35), the younger sister of Maria Vorontsova (37), is said to have been born in Germany when her father worked for the KGB secret service. She caused a furore as a dancer at a young age and has been vice director of the Institute for Mathematical Research of Complex Systems at Moscow University for several years now. There she leads research into artificial intelligence, among other things, and in that capacity, she has also spoken several times at major conferences.
Little is also known about the relationship between Tikhonova and Zelensky. Putin’s daughter was married to Kirill Shamalov (40), the youngest Russian billionaire ever, until 2017, after which the two would have found each other. How and where they met is unknown and could not be traced.
Der Spiegel and Vazjnye istori rely on flight data and other documents, among other things, to claim that the two are a couple and even have a two-year-old daughter. For example, between 2017 and 2019, Tikhonova frequently commuted between Munich and Russia, sometimes even several times a month, to be with her husband. Tired of all that travelling, she decided to move in with him in 2019.