Speaking to the press on Thursday, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he “looked at the material himself,” branding it “yellow journalism.”

“There is nothing special, nothing deserves comment,” he insisted. 

Peskov had told reporters, the previous day, that he knew nothing about the alleged scenario, claiming it was “the first time [he] had ever heard of such a woman.”

On November 25, the Moscow website ‘Proekt’ published an article claiming that Putin fathered a child in 2003, during his first term as President. The story was shared internationally by the likes of the Times of London, the Daily Mail, the New York Post and The Moscow Times, which despite its name is not a Russian publication.

According to the piece, Putin had a daughter, Elizaveta, with Svetlana Krivonogikh, a fellow Saint Petersburg native and longtime friend, who had previously been employed as a cleaner. Krivonogikh allegedly became acquainted with Putin in the 1990s.

In 2000, the year Putin was first inaugurated, Krivonogikh and her family’s financial well-being improved significantly, and she moved from a communal apartment into an upmarket home, on the Kamenny Islands, an expensive part of Russia’s second city, Proekt claims. Around this time, the writers believe that she had a relationship with President Putin.

The report also suggests that, through her connection with Putin, Krivonogikh received stock in Bank Rossiya, and now owns combined assets worth 7.7 billion rubles ($101 million).

“The reason for such secretiveness might lie in the fact that Krivonogikh has a daughter who was born in 2003, at the same time when Putin was campaigning for the first election of his career,” Proekt writes. “[On her documents,] Elizaveta Krivonogikh’s father is not indicated, and only her patronymic is known: Vladimirovna.”

In Russia, a child’s patronymic is a derivative of their father’s first name.

Proekt also claims that Elizaveta looks remarkably like Putin, with computer analysis apparently backing up the hypothesis. The outlet didn’t provide any pictures of the girl, citing privacy concerns. 

Until 2013, Putin was married to his ex-wife Lyudmila. During their 30-year marriage, they had two daughters. Both are now grown up and multiple news outlets have named them as pediatric endocrinologist Maria Vorontsova and university project director Katerina Tikhonova. For many years, the president has had a policy of not publicly commenting on family matters.

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