An unspoken ban on pro-Kremlin media’s covering the personal life of the Russian leader seems to have been suspended, at least on a one-off basis: state-run TV interviewed Katerina Tikhonova, a woman who is rumoured to be Putin’s daughter.
According to The New York Times, the fact is indicative of an attempt to humanize the ‘iron’ image of Putin. It also implies that his two adult daughters may gradually enter into the public life.
For a long time, Russia has not had the tradition of the first family’s publicity; Soviet and post-Soviet leaders behaved differently, NYT author Andrew Kramer says. For example, Putin, a former spy, kept their daughters out of sight, the journalist stressed.
While in office, Putin has been very sensitive about his privacy, even against the background of state-run TV reports about his spending free time alone, e.g. in the Siberian nature’s lap, in hiking tours or horseback, sometimes without a shirt, the article reads.
But the situation might be changing. So, in the above-mentioned interview, Katerina Tikhonova was asked about details of her work as director of a research institute.
“Tikhonova’s appearance on TV screens makes one think about a would-be public role of the president’s family, which has always been a delicate topic in Russian political culture since the Soviet times,” Nina Khrushcheva, Professor of International Affairs at The New School in New York and a great-granddaughter of the former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, says.
Amid Putin’s falling ratings, the Russian leader might be eager to show that his family is also involved in improving Russia. In her opinion, this is a message that his girl is also working for the sake of science, for the future of Russia.