Thursday, April 17, 2008

Putin to Dump Ludimilla and Wed 24 y/o Gymnast

Moskovski Korrespondent reports that Vladimir Putin is divorcing (or already has) his wife, Ludimilla, for 24 year-old gymnast and member of the Duma, Alina Kabaeva. The whole story is a little weird and even the owner of Moskovski Korrespondent, Alexander Lebedev, claims to have no knowledge of how the story came about.
Radaronline gives perhaps the best lowdown on what appears to be a very interesting story.
Putin's known views on marriage are said to be at the very least somewhat authoritarian according to of all places, Center for Defense Information:

"Russian President Vladimir Putin may openly profess his pride in his KGB past, but his wife Lyudmila recently disclosed a less-publicized aspect of his personality. According to the First Lady, her husband is a bona fide male chauvinist.

Regarding a woman's role in life, Putin's views are crystal-clear -- and not exactly progressive -- 45-year-old Lyudmila said in a biography of the Russian leader released Wednesday.

He has two basic rules: "a woman must do everything at home" and "you should not a praise a woman, otherwise, you will spoil her," she confided to journalist Oleg Blotski in "Vladimir Putin: The Road to Power."

And his background as a spook may have slightly contaminated his relations with his spouse, Lyudmila Putin went on.

"He has put me to the test throughout our life together. I constantly feel that he is watching me and checking that I make the right decisions," she complained.

Some domestic tyrants may at least be easy to cook for, but not this one, she revealed.

"He is extremely difficult to cook for and will refuse to eat a dish if he does not like the slightest thing in it," she said.

"He never praises me and that has totally put me off cooking," the First Lady added.

And Putin's work as a KGB spy has meant that secrecy has been a constant of life with him. In fact, it took Lyudmila Putin a full 18 months to learn about her then fiance's professional occupation.

The fact that he was always an hour and a half late when they were dating may have put her on cue.

But while Putin is a tough husband, his wife conceded that he is an ideal father for their two daughters, 17-year-old Masha and 16-year-old Katya.

They have spent "the happiest moments of their lives with their father," who "will allow them anything," in a sharp contrast to the way he handles his wife, Lyudmila Putin said.

The book displays several pictures showing Putin playing with his then baby daughters.

A graduate of foreign languages who spent several years in East Germany when her husband was posted there as a KGB agent, Lyudmila Putin at first stayed behind the scenes after her spouse came to power in December 1999 but has recently gained more prominence.

Once a year, she gives a now traditional interview to the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily, published in December.

Last year, she insisted in one of these interviews that she did not shy away from debating politics with her husband in their home life.

"I am concerned about many problems as a wife and a woman, I discuss these with Vladimir Vladimirovich when he has a minute free," Mrs. Putin said.

"When we discuss a problem, I give my point of view and sometimes this provokes a debate," the president's wife explained, adding that she "greatly respects" her husband's opinion and in general they have "the same points of view."

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