The search for ‘genetic defects’ Putin’s eldest daughter will reportedly oversee a ‘Russian Genome’ project with huge investment from Rosneft
Pediatric endocrinologist and alleged eldest daughter of President Vladimir Putin, Maria Vorontsova, is set to work with Russian energy giant “Rosneft” to create a new center for genetic research in Moscow. The BBC Russian Service reported this development on April 29, referencing multiple sources.
In March, Rosneft reached an agreement with the Russian government on creating a center for “comprehensive research in the field of genetic technologies.” Maria Vorontsova could become the curator for the project, or so three sources told the BBC.
The publication also reported that Rosneft plans to invest in the project until 2027, and could sink between $500 million and $1 billion into the center.
The Russian government intends to allocate a plot of land for the center’s construction at Sparrow Hills, near Moscow State University’s (MGU) “technological valley” — where Putin’s alleged younger daughter, Katerina Tikhonova, runs the university's recently established AI Institute.
Vladimir Putin has never confirmed — or denied — that Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova are his daughters.
When he was asked about his daughters most recently, at a press conference in December 2019, he referred to them as “the first woman” and the “second woman.”
In 2016, journalists from the Russian magazine The New Times revealed that Maria Vorontsova is likely Putin’s eldest daughter. Apparently, she has changed her last name seven times.
According to the BBC Russian Service, the center will be involved in a project called the “Genome of Russians,” which aims for a full genetic analysis of Russia’s residents.
The researchers behind the project are interested in identifying whether or not there are any “genetic defects” typical of the Russian ethnic group, which could then be corrected. At the very least, the center will seek to identify any “genetic defects” among some of their study participants.
The center plans on collecting genetic material from 100,000 Russians for their analysis, mainly from Rosneft employees. The BBC’s research shows that obtaining a full genetic analysis in Moscow costs between 60,000 and 100,000 rubles (between $800 and $1,360).
On April 28, a non-profit organization called “Development of Genetic Technologies” was registered in Moscow, under the address of Rosneft’s office.
The organization’s supervisory board is reportedly headed by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, and could also include Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, presidential aide Andrey Fursenko, and, of course, Maria Vorontsova.
Rosneft spokesman Mikhail Leontyev refused to comment on questions about Vorontsova’s role in the project.
“There are no Vorontsovas, we will not say anything. I do not know who this Maria Vorontsova is. That’s all, bye!” he said.
Update: A few hours after the publication of the BBC Russian Service investigation, Rosneft announced plans to sue the BBC. “The message [...] contains an unfounded lie about the company and persons not involved in the project in question,” Rosneft’s press service emphasized. Rosneft is planning to demand a retraction of the investigation, as well as compensation for damage to its reputation.
Translation by Eilish Hart