One of Russian President Vladimir Putin's daughters resides in a small town in the Netherlands, but now after the disaster of Flight MH17, her neighbors are seeking her exile. Putin's two daughters, Maria and Yekaterina, are rarely in the news, in or outside of Russia. However, Maria allegedly lives in Voorschoten, about 70 kilometers from the city of Hilversum. The mayor of Hilversum is none too pleased with this, and has recently suggested kicking her out of town.
The mayor of Hilversum, Pieter Broertjes, made the comment in a radio interview. He was expressing his frustrations as to the handling of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash, which is believed to have been shot down separatists using Russian-made missiles. The majority of the passengers on board are Dutch, and it has taken almost a week to recover most of their bodies and return them to the Netherlands. The arrival of bodies yesterday has been accompanied by miles-long funeral procession being met by thousands of Dutch citizens.
Since the radio interview, Broertjes has apologized, issuing this tweet:
The Dutch have declared a day of mourning on behalf of the MH17 victims.
Both of Putin's daughters live extremely private lives. Maria is 29 and Yekaterina is 27. They do not use any form of social media, and very few photographs of them are even publicly available. There are several photos of them as children, but very few as adults, so they would be difficult to recognize even in Russia, let alone the Netherlands. In one of the few documentaries Putin has allowed, "Ich, Putin," he is filmed mainly alone, with his dog and with his bodyguards.
Their lives are in stark contrast to Stalin's daughter, Svetlana, who had a very public childhood. But after his fall from power, her publicity was turned on her, and she had a very difficult life, virtually unwelcome everywhere. When Stalin died, she took her mother's maiden name, Alliluyeva. She moved around the world, and changed religions several times, seemingly to get away from the association with her father. She eventually married an America, changing her name to Lana Peters. About her upbringing, Lana said, "You can’t regret your fate...although I do regret my mother didn’t marry a carpenter."
Now, Putin's daughters may face the same kind of life Svetlana Stalin faced.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.