The Kremlin was forced to deny claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin has married former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva.
Rumors that the recently divorced Vladimir Putin was marrying in the town of Valdai swept the internet.
Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Putin’s most charismatic political rival, tweeted: “I’m told that Putin and Kabaeva are marrying today at the Iver Monastery. All of Valdai sealed off.”
However, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, later dismissed the claims as “an internet exercise to relieve boredom”.
Valdai is in the Novgorod region, where Vladimir Putin, 60, was based last week for an international conference involving politicians and journalists.
The president’s aides have repeatedly denied he is involved in a relationship with gold medal-winning gymnast Alina Kabaeva, 30.
Claims that Vladimir Putin and Alina Kabaeva have children together have also been dismissed.
This week Vladimir Putin indicated he may stand for office again in 2018.
Vladimir Putin was first elected in 2000 and served two four year terms until he handed control of the country to puppet president Dmitry Medvedev who served until 2012 when Putin was reelected, this time for a six-year term.
If reelected, Vladimir Putin will have been in power for nearly a quarter of a century which will make him the nation’s longest-serving leader since Joseph Stalin.
Vladimir Putin, who served two consecutive four-year terms starting in 2000, stepped out of the presidential limelight and became prime minister in 2008 to observe a limit of two consecutive terms.
However, Vladimir Putin maintained his grip on power from the shadows with his longtime ally, Dmitry Medvedev, serving as a placeholder.