A recent issue of Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper said that Russia’s outgoing President Vladimir Putin was going to marry a girl who is 30 years younger. Furthermore, the newspaper wrote that Putin secretly divorced his wife, Lyudmila Putin, in February of the current year. With reference to rumours, La Repubblica wrote that Putin was going to remarry on June 15, Whit Sunday.
His new wife will be Alina Kabaeva, the rhythmic gymnast, who won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and obtained numerous European awards, the newspaper said. According to the newspaper, “Russians consider Kabaeva to be sexier than Sharapova and Kournikova.” After the Olympic Games in Athens Kabaeva gave up sport (read article) and decided to try her hand at cinema.
La Repubblica underlined the authenticity of the news. According to the newspaper, “Putin divorced his wife in a St. Petersburg registry office.” The only disclaimer was voiced by Kabaeva’s press secretary, but it sounded so unconvincing as if it had been motivated by fear to unlock some mystery, since Putin still remains the most powerful personality in Russia.
The newspaper concluded that Putin’s plan concerning Kabaeva had been implemented long ago: Kabaeva became deputy head of the State Duma Committee on Youth Affairs and chaired the supervisory board of the National Media Group - Russia’s new media-holding owned by Yury Kovalchuk, who is a close friend of Putin’s. It was not incidental that Russia’s state-run TV channels and newspapers highlighted the story of Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni – their story is similar.
Russian, Italian and French blogs have been inundated with comments on the allegedly forthcoming wedding of Putin and Kabaeva, Moskovsky Correspondent newspaper wrote with reference to a Moscow-based company that specializes in organizing solemn events. A tender for organizing this wedding has been reportedly announced. The wedding is due on June 15.
Photo gallery: Alina Kabaeva, the most flexible body of Russia
The Moskovsky Correspondent article dedicated to the forthcoming wedding of Putin and Kabaeva was published on April 11 and received an extensive coverage in the European media. Italy’s La Repubblica, Poland’s Wyborcza and Austria’s Die Presse have already covered the story with numerous pictures of Alina Kabaeva.
The most abstract article on the topic was posted on the website of Germany’s Der Spiegel: “No matter what she touches - a mace, hoops or the fate of Russia’s youth, the 24-year-old Olympic champion always astonished people with her ideal elegance and sports achievements. Russians extol her enormously. Now Moscow is visibly agitated about the widely rumoured wedding. It was the day when Putin agreed to lead United Russia. Before that the president’s personal life was kept secret, but now it hit the headlines. The former KGB spy allegedly divorced his wife and is going to marry the young athlete. The wedding is due on June 15 in the Konstantin Palace in St Petersburg’s suburb of Strelna.”
In an interview with Spiegel Online, the Moscow-based event-organizing company Karnaval-Stil (Carnival-Style), which was mentioned in the above-mentioned article, disclaimed its involvement in the organization of Putin’s wedding. “We learnt it from the Internet as well as you did,” stated the company’s Director Sergey Tylkin. “We would be greatly honoured to organize such a wedding, but it absolutely nonsensical.”
Meanwhile, the Kremlin declined any comments. Alina Kabaeva’s spokesman refuted any allegations of the wedding.
Translated by Julia Bulygina