Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lyudmila Putina’s divorce has been finalized, the Kremlin has confirmed.
Vladimir Putin and his wife of 30 years, Lyudmila Putina, who have two daughters in their late 20s, went on TV in June to announce they were breaking up.
The 61-year-old president was still officially listed as “married” only last week.
Vladimir Putin and Lyudmila Putina’s divorce has been finalized
Ranked among the world’s most powerful people, Vladimir Putin made headlines last month by annexing Ukraine’s Crimea region.
During their appearance before a TV camera last year, Vladimir Putin said: “It was a joint decision: we hardly see each other, each of us has our own life.”
Lyudmila Putina, who is known to dislike publicity, said that flying was difficult for her and Vladimir Putin was “completely drowned in work”.
The divorce was “civilized” and the couple would “always remain close”, she added.
Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed for Russian media on Wednesday that the divorce had been completed.
In 2008, Vladimir Putin denied rumors that he had secretly divorced and was planning to marry former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva.
Alina Kabayeva was among the final six torchbearers at the opening of Vladimir Putin’s showpiece Sochi Winter Olympics in February, rekindling speculation that she was a favorite of the Russian leader.
Vladimir Putin and his wife of 30 years Lyudmila Putina had gone on national television to tell the world their marriage was over.
But it appears many Russians still refusing to believe that a Russian president could even contemplate getting a divorce.
People think that Vladimir Putin, 60, and his 55-year-old wife had responsibilities to the Russian people and to God and could never divorce.
Such disbelief is understandable after all, it’s 300 years since the last time a Russian leader annulled his marriage.
That was Peter the Great, who dispatched his spouse to a nunnery.
Vladimir Putin and Lyudmila Putina interview, during an interval at the ballet, was the strangest affair and came across as highly stage-managed.
Up until this interview, the private life of Vladimir Putin had been taboo for Russia’s state media.
Reporters would never dare to ask the Kremlin leader about his marital problems.
Vladimir Putin and his wife of 30 years Lyudmila Putina had gone on national television to tell the world their marriage was over
On Thursday night, though, a state television correspondent posed the hitherto unthinkable questions: was it true that the president and his wife were living apart? Were they divorced?
It’s hard to believe such uncomfortable quizzing could have gone ahead without official say-so.
The reporter sounded nervous; at one point she apologized for mentioning the D-word – “divorce”.
So why is the marriage over?
Judging from what was said in the interview, it comes down to Vladimir Putin spending too much time at work and Lyudmila Putina’s loathing of being in the public eye. But could there be another reason?
On Moscow radio, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked about “rumors” that another woman had come into the president’s life. Dmitry Peskov denied it, dismissing claims as “gossip, rumors and speculation”.
It’s unclear how the divorce will affect Russia’s perception of their president.
Some Russians will clearly be disappointed that the Kremlin leader is pushing ahead with plans for a divorce.
Yesterday’s edition of Izvestia warns that President Vladimir Putin risks alienating a key section of his supporters – married women.
And yet there has been a degree of sympathy and support for Vladimir Putin in the media and in blogosphere; some Russians praise him for being honest about his private life and his marital problems, and for showing that a Russian president is no demigod: he’s just human, like everyone else.
There are rumors that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who just announced his divorce from his wife of 30 years Lyudmila Putina, and former gymnast Alina Kabaeva have decided to get married.
But who is Vladimir Putin’s potential new bride?
Alina Maratovna Kabaeva was born on May 12, 1983 in Tashkent, Uzbek SSR of former Soviet Union. Her father is former professional football player Marat Kabayev.
Alina Kabaeva is known for her extreme natural flexibility. She stands at 1.66 m (5’4) and weighs 48 kg (106 lbs).
She is Russia’s most successful rhythmic gymnast to date, and is also one of the most decorated gymnasts in the history of rhythmic gymnastics.
Alina Kabaeva started rhythmic gymnastics in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 1987 at the age of 4. She made her international debut in 1996. In 1998, at age 15, Alina Kabaeva took out the European Championships in Portugal, her victory considered by many to be completely “out of the blue”.
Alina Kabaeva took home a gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. She also took a bronze medal at Sydney in 2000.
Former gymnast Alina Kabaeva is Vladimir Putin’s potential new bride
In October 2004, Alina Kabaeva announced her retirement from the sport. However, in June 2005, the Russian head coach Irina Viner announced a possible comeback.
Alina Kabaeva resumed her sport career at an Italy-Russia friendly competition in Genoa, on 10 September 2005. On March 5, 2006, she won the Gazprom Moscow Grand Prix, taking the second and third places. She won the silver medal in all-around at the 2006 European Championships.
The gymnast finished 4th in qualifications at the 2007 World Championships and did not advance into the finals due to the two per country rule with Vera Sessina and Olga Kapranova placing ahead of Alina Kabaeva. She completed her career at the 2007 Season.
Since 2005 Alina Kabaeva has been a member of the Public Chamber of Russia.
She also appeared briefly in the 2001 Japanese movie Red Shadow, performing her gymnastic routine. Since 2007, Alina Kabaeva has been a member of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, representing the United Russia party. Since February 2008 she has been Chairman of the National Media Group’s Public Council, the media group that controls Izvestia, Channel One and REN TV.
In January 2011, Alina Kabaeva appeared on the cover of Vogue Russia.
Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila Putina have announced that they have separated and their marriage is over.
The 60-year-old Russian president and his 55-year-old wife broke the news of the end of the 29-year marriage in an obviously staged TV interview after a night at the ballet that made no mention of Vladimir Putin’s alleged mistress, former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, 30.
Asked on Rossiya-24 television about longstanding rumors that the Putins no longer lived together, Vladimir Putin said: “That is true.”
Lyudmila Putina said it had been “our common decision. And our marriage is over due to the fact that we barely see each other”.
Asked whether they were divorced, Lyudmila Putina said it was a “civilized divorce”.
But neither clarified whether they were legally divorced and Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said he did not know.
The obviously staged interview made no mention of Alina Kabayeva, a 30-year-old former gymnast who is rumored to have been Vladimir Putin’s mistress for years.
Alina Kabaeva, who is alleged to have given birth to Vladimir Putin’s lovechild, is now a politician after retiring from a glittering career in gymnastics in which she represented her country at the Olympics twice.
Rumors about Vladimir Putin’s alleged affair with Alina Kabaeva first surfaced five years ago when a Russian newspaper owned by the oligarch Alexander Lebedev reported that Putin wanted to marry his gymnast mistress.
Vladimir Putin angrily denied the story, and the newspaper was closed down shortly afterwards, which many attributed to Putin’s rage. Further stories later emerged claiming that Alina Kabaeva had had a baby by the president, but both sides denied them.
Vladimir Putin and Lyudmila Putina had last been seen in public together at Putin’s inauguration to his third presidential term on May 7, 2012.
Married just a few weeks short of 30 years, the Putins announced the decision on state television after attending a ballet performance Thursday evening in the Kremlin.
Lyudmila Putina has rarely been seen in public during her husband’s long tenure at the top of Russian politics.
Alina Kabaeva, who is alleged to have given birth to Vladimir Putin’s lovechild, is now a politician after retiring from a glittering career in gymnastics in which she represented Russia at the Olympics twice
“I don’t like publicity and flying is difficult for me,” she said.
In the televised announcement of their divorce, Vladimir Putin appeared reserved and Lyudmila Putina smiled tentatively.
“We practically never saw each other. To each his own life,” Vladimir Putin said.
Lyudmila Putina said: “We will eternally be very close people. I’m thankful … that he supports me.”
There were no immediate indications of how the move would be perceived by the public. Divorce is common in Russia, and nearly 700,000 pairs dissolved their marriages in 2009, according to UNICEF.
Russian leaders, unlike their counterparts in the West, generally keep their personal lives well out of public view. Mikhail Gorbachev’s wife Raisa raised many Russians’ hackles by her visibility, flair for fashionable dress and forthright comments.
But Vladimir Putin also has made a point of supporting traditional social values and appearing at holiday masses of the Orthodox Church.
The church permits divorce under some circumstances; it is not clear if the Putins sought pastoral advice or permission before the split.
The couple, who married in 1983 and have two daughters, recently attracted attention after they were never seen in public together.
An official family portrait has been issued, and photographs of their daughters Maria, 27, and Yekaterina, 26, have never been printed by the Russian media.
In April speculation was mounting as to why the first lady of Russia was rarely seen by the president’s side.
Unfounded rumors suggested Vladimir Putin had an affair with spy-turned-lingerie model Anna Chapman, which has been strongly denied, was behind the former Aeroflot-hostess’ disappearance from public view.
In October 2010 the Putins tried to quell rumors they had divorced by posing for pictures as they jointly answered questions for the national census.
Vladimir Putin has been a constant fixture in leading the country.
He was re-elected to the role of President in May last year, and he previously held the post from 2000 to 2008.
In between his these offices, Vladimir Putin was Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012.
The Russian office of first lady demands the attendance of many official ceremonies and functions of state – either by the side of the president or to represent him.
Russia heavily frowns upon the First Lady holding outside employment while occupying the office.
As Vladimir Putin prepares to take up Russia’s Presidency for an unprecedented third time, speculation is mounting as to why the future First Lady Lyudmila Putina is never seen by his side.
Some say an affair with spy-turned-lingerie model Anna Chapman, which has been strongly denied, is the reason Lyudmila Putina, a former Aeroflot-hostess, is now rarely seen out in public.
Others say he is still seeing former Olympic gold medallist Alina Kabayeva, claims also heavily rebutted, but who he was alleged to have fathered a child with.
A third theory is Lyudmila Putina, 54, is “locked away” in a $1.5 million state-built guest house in the grounds of the ancient Yelizarov monastery outside Pskov – close to Estonia’s border.
Locals say they have “proof” Lyudmila Putina has been there – but all official enquiries to the authorities are met with a steely silence.
A final hunch is Lyudmila Putina became angry when, in 2008, Vladimir Putin stepped down from the top job but then took up the post of Prime Minister.
Lyudmila Putina is rumored to have moved back to his native St. Petersburg while Vladimir Putin remained in the capital Moscow.
Lyudmila Putina is rumored to have moved back to his native St. Petersburg while Vladimir Putin remained in the capital Moscow
Sociologist Olga Kryshtranovkaya said Vladimir Putin was merely copying Soviet leaders who hid their wives from view.
The one exception, she said, was Mikhail Gorbachev whose wife Raisa played a higher-profile role during the 1980s – but that led to criticism from ordinary Russians.
Olga Kryshtranovkaya told The Times: “For Russia, the status of First Lady is different than in Western countries. It’s our mentality about the role of women, unfortunately.
“Our First Lady has practically always been a housewife who looked after the children and didn’t invite herself into politics.
“The first change was with Gorbachev and it was a very unsuccessful example from the Russian point of view.”
Vladimir Putin, 59, will be inaugurated on May 7, then fly to the U.S. on May 18 for the annual G8 summit of world leaders.
It is unlikely Lyudmila Putina will be with him, as in the last two years they have been seen together just twice. Previously, they were often pictured together on diplomatic trips abroad – Lyudmila Putina seen posing with Tony Blair’s wife Cherie and George W Bush’s First Lady Laura.
In October 2010 the couple, married in 1983, tried to quell rumors they had divorced by posing for pictures as they jointly answered questions for the national census.
Then, on March 4, Lyudmila Putina was spotted leaving a polling station after casting her vote. Little is also known about the couple’s two daughters.
Photographs of Maria, 26, and Yekaterina, 25, have never been published by Russia’s media and no family portraits have ever been released.
Although being undeniably tough on his marriage, speculation that former KGB agent Vladimir Putin is “seeing” flame-haired beauty Anna Chapman will certainly do no harm to his image.
Arrested in the U.S. in 2010 for espionage, Anna Chapman was soon catapulted into the limelight as her pictures were splashed around the world.
Her intelligence career came to an abrupt end when, along with her nine colleagues, she was arrested in New York City an FBI counter-intelligence swoop.
But Anna Chapman, daughter of a senior KGB agent, has become a celebrity in Russia since her dramatic Cold War-style prisoner swap deportation back to her home country in July 2010.
It culminated when last month she appeared on the catwalk at Russian Fashion Week in Moscow clothed in a skin-tight leather ensemble.
Vladimir Putin has also been linked to Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva, who appeared on Russian Vogue’s cover in January 2011.
Alina Kabayeva, 28, who won a bronze medal in the rhythmic gymnastics at the Sydney Games in 2000 and bettered it with gold four years later at Athens, is alleged to have mothered his lovechild.