A Korean man said to be about to marry Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's daughter on Friday denied the reports. "I've known Katya [Putina] for more than 10 years, but I have no marriage plans. I'm only 26 so it's a bit too early for me to be thinking about marriage," the man, whose surname is Yoon, told the Chosun Ilbo. "Reports of an impending marriage are false."
Media reports on Friday said Yoon, the son of retired admiral Yoon Jong-gu, is to marry the younger of Putin's two daughters, Yekaterina Vladimirova, also known as Katya.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Putin, also denied the reports, which he said do "not correspond with reality." Putin, who has sought to keep his daughters out of the public eye, is said to be displeased. He reportedly met with Yoon on Friday morning and told him not to speak about the personal lives of his family.
But Yoon denies that report as well, saying merely that the two have known each other since they were young, though sources close to them say the relationship is more than just a friendship. A close friend of Yoon's said the young man has recorded every day of his relationship with Katya in his diary for the last four or five years.
The two met in July 1997 at a school dance at an international school in Moscow. "It was just coincidence. I went there with my brother to have some fun, and Katya and her sister spoke to us first," Yoon said.
At the time, Adm. Yoon was a military attaché at the Korean embassy in Moscow. Standing just a tad more than 170 cm tall, Yoon junior was athletic and fit and fluent in English and Russian. He was popular at school. "At first, I didn't know she was Putin's daughter," he recalled but soon found out and even spent holidays with the Putins at their dacha. When Yoon went to university in the U.S., the two saw less of each other, but they apparently kept in touch by e-mail and phone.
In 2002, Katya visited Korea, travelling on her own and declining help from the Korean government in finding accommodation for her. She said she was visiting a friend, and reportedly enjoyed Korean food with Yoon's family at their home. During university, Yoon returned to Korea at his father's insistence and joined the Marines. He now works in the Moscow office of a major Korean conglomerate.