Remember the huge scandal involving U.S. president Bill Clinton and his younger mistress, Monica Lewinsky? Well, it looks like history may be repeating itself; only this time, it’s Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, and the scandal is about more than just an illicit relationship.
Putin and his wife formally announced their divorce in June 2013, claiming that his busy time in office is what led to the dissolution of their 30-year marriage. However, Putin has been dodging rumors for years that he had an affair with former Olympian gymnast, Alina Kabaeva, who is literally half his age, considering their 31-year age difference. Putin has adamantly disputed these affair rumors, and even had one Russian tabloid shut down in 2008 for reporting a story about the president marrying his alleged mistress.
Five years have passed since then, but the scandal is still alive and well, with new rumors surfacing that Putin and Kabaeva did, in fact, secretly get married earlier this month. The marriage rumor was sparked by someone who tweeted, “Putin and Kabaeva are being crowned,” after several roads around a monastery were blocked by federal guards (“Being crowned” is a reference to a Russian wedding tradition.). The tweet was then retweeted by a Russian opposition leader with a significantly large number of followers on Twitter, causing the news to go viral.
Putin, almost 61 now, is once again trying to deny his relationship with 30-year-old Kabaeva—well, sort of. “It’s his decision and he’s not obliged to talk about his personal life,” said the president’s spokesman. “You and I voted for the president at the elections, so let’s pay attention to what kind of president he is. And what kind of bloke he is, whether he has a wife or not, let’s leave that up to him.”
Meanwhile, Kabaeva has yet to make any comment about her suspected marriage to Putin.
Gorst, I., “Kremlin denies Putin has wed former Olympian,” The Irish Times web site, September 26, 2013; http://goo.gl/wpHynS.
Oliphant, R., “‘Putin and Kabayeva are crowned’: Guard’s remark suggests Russian president has married his mistress,” National Post web site, September 26, 2013; http://goo.gl/rk5Bff.
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