(Translation of Meduza’s summary by Kevin Rothrock.)
Vladimir Putin’s eldest known daughter, Maria Vorontsova, is reportedly active in a Telegram chat group used by alumni of Moscow State University’s Medical Department, where she sometimes writes about current events. Dmitry Kolezev, the editor-in-chief of the website Republic, shared this information on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, posting several screenshots received from a member of that chat group showing Vorontsova’s comments. The messages, if authentic, offer a rare glance at the political thinking of one of the Russian president’s closest relatives.
Vorontsova allegedly participates in the group under the name “Maria V.” Both Kolezev’s source in the chat group and a journalist who knows Vorontsova’s Telegram account confirmed that “Maria V.” is Putin’s daughter. When she joined the group last fall, Maria V. introduced herself as Maria Vorontsova, class of 2011, which coincides with what reporters know about her education.
There are roughly 170 people in the chat room, and Kolezev’s source says older members “periodically warn the newcomers if someone gets into a heated argument with [Vorontsova].” Screenshots of chat exchanges with Putin’s daughter, however, indicate that others in the group are not shy about confronting her on various issues.
According to the records Kolezev obtained, many of Vorontsova’s comments on political and social issues echo the rhetoric of her father, Vladimir Putin. In many of her messages, she strongly criticizes Western attitudes about Russia, sometimes even alleging diabolical plots by the United States and the European Union:
“What naivety. That’s child’s talk. Blaming everything and putting all responsibility on one person is the same as putting your faith in one person, like a tsar. Same crap. If you want to set yourself apart from tsarism’s admirers, … well, this ain’t the way to do it.
“Nobody in the West needs our country to be prosperous. They’ve always done everything possible to ensure this doesn’t happen. And they’ll continue to do so. If suddenly, like almost happened in the 90s, Russia becomes a full-fledged raw-material appendage of the United States and EU, I’ll be interested to see whom you blame for that fact that we’re not living in a prosperous economy. Quit playin, honestly.”
“But don’t you think that in all families these aspects get at least some attention? For my own secondary training, I often have to listen to family stories where the parents don’t have enough time or resources to invest in their children (psychological, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and so on) … And where do such kids pick up your mindset about being inseparable from their roots? For example, this group of people is an easy target for techniques to control mass consciousness.
“The techniques I mention are neither new nor a fantasy from dystopian literature. Professional teachers, intelligence services, psychologists, for example — they’re well aware of them. […]”
“In 2008, the first sanctions started, and they threatened that mozzarella would disappear from store shelves. Everybody freaked out, yikes, how can this be! How will we survive now? Without Italian mozzarella! And now? Are we still breathing? So it would seem. Now we’ve even got our own mozzarella. And was any of this possible in the 90s? No.”
“We’re not the Germans in the 30s. If anything, we’re more like those they targeted,” Vorontsova argued in another exchange.
In another comment, Maria V. said Russia “lost an entire generation of brains in science and medicine,” thanks to the “tireless” efforts of businessman and philanthropist George Soros. Since then, Vorontsova explained, Russia has endeavored to ensure the return of these “brains” and spent decades devoted to economic recovery. “In the 90s, we, Russia, imported (!) grain. It’s a disgrace. And now we’re one of [the world’s] top exporters. Was that out of the blue, too? Some spell or something, sure. […] Are there problems here? Yes, nobody denies that. We have more than a few traitors, there’s corruption, and the bureaucracy is monstrous. But here’s a question: who doesn’t have these issues?” Vorontsova asked the chat group.
In another exchange, President Putin’s daughter criticized another chat member for using the word “annexation” to describe Russia’s absorption of Crimea in 2014, insisting that such language overlooks “the will of the people.” She has also argued that NATO would have established a permanent military presence on the peninsula if the alliance ever reached it, and she’s repeated the Russian military’s claims about supposed U.S. bioweapons laboratories on Ukrainian territory.
“I get that already. X changes, but the party’s general line (?) stays the same. In any case… The main governing body in the United States is the Pentagon. For more details, I can ask the experts 🙂
“[But why isn’t it the CIA?] The CIA controls the Russian mass media and opposition. They don’t have time for everything.”
Vorontsova has also complained that the United States never faces international sanctions for the wars Washington initiates, and she endorses the theory that the CIA controls Russia’s free press and anti-Kremlin opposition. “What kind of news media live on readers’ money after being blocked?” she asked in one conversation. According to the published screenshots, however, there is one political issue on which Maria V. has declined to comment: the persecution of the LGBTQ community in Chechnya.
Kolezev also shared screenshots showing Vorontsova’s flippant responses to questions directly about Russia’s president. For example, when asked, “Would you like to talk about Putin’s country home [likely a reference to the president’s palace on the Black Sea coast near Gelendzhik],” Maria V. answered, “Sure, let’s do it 🤣🤣🤣.” When someone else in the group commented, referring to Putin: “Years of work down the drain because of one person,” Putin’s daughter replied, “Because of one person… I wanted to write, ‘How interesting,’ but I’m not sure it’s interesting.” In another exchange, she said, “I personally know people who have worked / are working in the state service, working themselves to the bone, and they’re doing it for everyone’s benefit.”
“Let me emphasize again that we cannot state unequivocally that Maria V. is the real Maria Vorontsova, Vladimir Putin’s daughter. But circumstantial evidence and two sources indicate that she is. In this case, we’re able to imagine what someone in the president’s closest family environment thinks about the events unfolding today. If this really is Maria Vorontsova, it seems Putin’s younger relatives share his worldview. And that means there are fewer reasons to expect opposition within Putin’s inner circle, and it means it’s generally pointless to try to appeal to Maria with pleas to influence her father and stop the war, as activists have tried to do [in demonstrations] outside her ex-husband’s home in Europe,” explained Dmitry Kolezev.
Articles from Meduza are republished in Transit Magasin’s english edition under open access license.