Vladimir Putin’s “full of sex” gold medal-winning lover made her first public appearance at a Sochi training camp after being outed by Western officials earlier this year
Vladimir Putin’s “lover” has been seen in public for the first time since she was outed by Western governments as being his secret partner.
Olympic gold-winning rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, 39, rumored to have a hidden family with the Kremlin leader, did not comment on the sanctions or her private life.
She was seen in the Black Sea resort Sochi at a rhythmic gymnastics training camp with 28 children. It was the first time she has been out in public since April when she recorded a militaristic and patriotic TV extravaganza involving children and appeared with youngsters at Moscow’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to commemorate the dead from World War Two.
Her reappearance this week came soon after a Telegram channel branded her the “invisible princess”.
As Putin struggles in the war with Ukraine she told the 28 young gymnasts in Sochi: “I want to urge everyone not to give up – reach your goals, do not lose heart.”
While she is a leading sportswoman and celebrity in Russia and heads a staunchly pro-Kremlin media empire, her suspected status as Putin’s partner is off-limits to the media.
Speculation suggests she and Putin have children together – at least three, according to anonymous US officials – the Russian public has not been informed of her true status is a secret first lady. She was sanctioned by Britain last month, followed by Canada and the EU.
“She is alleged to have a close personal relationship with Putin,” said the UK in imposing the sanctions.
Canadian foreign affairs minister Melanie Joly initially called her “a person very close to Putin”. Then she added: “I don’t know (what) to call her, but his partner, yes, I guess.”
The EU labeled her “a close associate” of Putin, while the US has resisted imposing sanctions, removing her from an April list, to avoid a counterproductive personal blow to the Kremlin leader. Her fleeting appearance is only the second this year, and journalists failed to ask her about being sanctioned and the reason behind it – her links to Putin.
News outlet Moskovsky Komsomolets commented that she had “lost quite a lot of weight, which suits her beautifully.
“Alina loves expensive stylish outfits, which, being the head of the National Media Group, she can afford…. Alina talked with the children in white trousers, a lilac long sleeve [blouse], and a matching cardigan. The tanned star covered her eyes with stylish white-framed sunglasses. “
Earlier in the war, there were claims that Kabaeva was hiding in a Swiss bolthole or even a hi-tech Siberian “underground city bunker”.
Recently, all information about The National Media Group (NMG) – where she is chairman – was wiped from open databases. Her salary at this group, which controls multiple pro-Putin TV and newspaper outlets, has been estimated at almost £8 million a year, compared with the Russian average annual figure of £5,600.
But now all details have vanished from open databases, reports ‘Mozhem Obyasnit’ (We can explain) Telegram channel. “The register was cleared immediately after the imposition of sanctions against Alina Kabaeva by the UK,” added the channel which called her “The Invisible Princess”.
Kabaeva is believed to be based in Sochi where a huge gymnastic center in her name is under construction on the edge of the city’s Winter Olympics park. Aerial pictures show a huge development in a project which began in 2017.
Rumours first linked Kabaeva romantically to Putin as long ago as 2008 when she was a pro-Kremlin MP. The newspaper printing the story was rapidly closed down.
Putin – who in 2013 announced his divorce from wife Lyudmila, a former Aeroflot stewardess – has previously said: “I have a private life in which I do not permit interference. It must be respected.”
He deplored “those who with their snotty noses and erotic fantasies prowl into others’ lives”.
Kabaeva is on record as saying she had met a man who “I love very much”, gushing: “Sometimes you feel so happy that you even feel scared.”
Kabaeva once posed almost nude for Maxim magazine and was described as “full of sex” by a photographer. There have been many reports of her wearing a wedding ring, but no records of marriage.
She is reported to have a fleet of Maybach limousines at her disposal and was seen surrounded by a squad of machine-gun-toting security guards on visits to a Moscow cafe, likely indicating she qualifies for state-level security.