Russia blocks website that exposed Putin’s cleaner-turned-millionaire ‘mistress’ and her ‘£74m business empire’ alongside a series of exposes of the country’s super-wealthy elite
Proekt, which also published a series of exposes of the country’s super-wealthy elite, was blocked after it claimed, among other things, that Svetlana Krivonogikh, 46, was in a relationship with the then-married Kremlin leader before and after he first became president in 1999.
It also published allegations her daughter – Elizaveta, or Luiza, now 18 – was fathered by Putin, and is his third daughter after Maria and Katerina from his marriage.
The news outlet, known in English as Project, was earlier designated by the Kremlin a ‘foreign agent’ and an ‘undesirable organisation’ – the same labels given to opposition leader Alexei Navalny‘s Anti-Corruption Foundation.
Proekt founder Roman Badanin, who has halted his work in Russia where he faces jail on ostensibly unrelated charges, was also labelled a ‘foreign agent’ over the sites’s alleged US backing.
Russia’s state media watchdog has blocked an investigative news website after it revealed details of Vladimir Putin’s alleged former mistress and love child
Proekt published claims Svetlana Krivonogikh, 46, (pictured) was in a relationship with the then-married Kremlin leader before and after he first became president in 1999
Proekt also published allegations her daughter – Elizaveta, or Luiza, now 18 (pictured) – was fathered by President Putin, and is his third daughter
Proekt was blocked in Russia after it published an investigative article (pictured) including details of President Putin’s alleged mistress and love child
The move by Roskomnadzor to ban the site reportedly came at the behest of the country’s prosecutor-general.
The Ministry of Justice has claimed the company behind Proekt posed ‘a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation’.
The outlet’s investigative journalists had claimed Krivonogikh owned a business empire worth in excess of £74 million, including a yacht that has been seen under naval escort in St Petersburg.
The recent Pandora Papers leak also linked her to a £3.1 million luxury fourth-floor home, located in the Monte Carlo Star apartment block just below the famous casino, in Monaco.
The papers also revealed her total worth to be around $100million.
A series of photos posted to Instagram – one showing a firework display, one of a rainbow overlooking the ocean, and a third showing yachts in the harbour – also linked Krivonogikh and her daughter to the apartment.
On the yacht photo, which was posted in 2014, daughter Elizaveta replied with comment which said: ‘Beautiful! I know this place!’
Her other assets, many of which are also controlled by offshore firms, include a yacht as well as shares of some of Russia’s most-valuable state-owned firms.
Neither Krivonogikh nor her daughter has commented on the disclosures which unmask the hidden financial dealings of world leaders and their associates.
Svetlana Krivonogikh, 46 and believed to be Putin’s mistress, owns a $4million apartment in Monte Carlo through a secretive offshore firm, the Pandora Papers have revealed
Photos posted to Krivonogikh’s social media further link her with Monaco, including this one of a firework display over the ultra-rich enclave
Krivonogikh also posted this image of Monaco’s harbour from Monte Carlo, which her daughter and alleged Putin lovechild commented on – saying: ‘I know this place!’
Since being ‘outed’ by the opposition media last year, student Luiza has become a social media star with more than 80,000 followers, her own fashion line, and has been in demand as a DJ.
In recent months, she had spent time in Paris despite the Covid-19 restrictions.
Neither she nor her mother has commented on the Proekt claims but Luiza told Russian GQ that she ‘probably’ looks ‘similar’ to a young Putin.
Putin’s spokesman said when the story originally broke that the love child allegations were ‘not very convincing’ and ‘de facto unfounded’, but this has not prevented widespread speculation.
Another image from Krivonogikh’s social media showed a rainbow over an ocean view, which she also tagged as being taken in Monaco
Elizaveta is Krivonogikh’s daughter and is believed to be Putin’s lovechild. Her mother suddenly came into wealth after her birth in 2003
Proekt’s closure coincides with a Washington Post article by Badanin – now a John S. Knight Senior International Journalism Fellow at Stanford University – headlined: ‘Why we should care about Putin’s love life’.
In it he argued: ‘Where Krivonogikh got her wealth is relevant not only to Putin’s personal life, it is also a matter of life and death for the people of my country.’
The Covid-19 crisis in Russia has reached new peaks yet ‘our kleptocrats, enabled and encouraged by the Kremlin, continue to enrich themselves even as regular people continue dying in underfunded state hospitals’.
While deaths soar, hospitals like the Botkin State Clinic in St Petersburg, are crumbling due to lack of renovation, he said.
‘Even as public facilities such as Botkin were falling apart, Putin’s friends and relatives – including his ex-mistress Krivonogikh – our reporting showed, have been busily building multimillion-dollar residential buildings for themselves,’ he wrote.
Funding for such properties has come from Bank Rossiya, of which she is an owner, he said.
Proekt’s closure coincides with a Washington Post article by Roman Badanin (pictured) – now a John S. Knight Senior International Journalism Fellow at Stanford University – headlined: ‘Why we should care about Putin’s love life’