On Friday, November 30, 2018, a Boeing 737 of Aeroflot, Russia’s largest airline, flew from Russian Sheremetyevo Airport to Brussels Airport with Katerina Tichonova on board. The next night she already returned to Moscow. Tichonova may have traveled with a passport with her real name and date of birth, of which De Tijd received a leaked photo. President Putin’s youngest daughter from his marriage to Lyudmila Shkrebneva took her maternal grandmother’s surname. She was born in 1986 in Dresden, Germany, where her father was then working as an intelligence officer for the KGB.
The Crisis Centre, State Security, the federal police and Brussels Airport do not want to say anything about the case, De Tijd writes. The newspaper asks a number of questions. Were any of our security services aware of Tichonova’s visit? Did she still visit our country? And do sanctioned Russians still get safe-conduct when they visit our country?
Tichonova landed on the European, American and British financial sanctions lists in April: her accounts and other assets must be frozen. She heads a publicly funded artificial intelligence institute at Moscow State University. She also heads the Innopraktika knowledge center, which is funded by major Russian companies led by oligarchs close to President Putin. In July, she also led the business lobby of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) to help counter Western economic sanctions, De Tijd describes.