The Daily Telegraph

Putin’s ‘lover’ gushes in interview about a mystery man who gifts her a fur coat

Gymnast Alina Kabaeva was asked about her secret boyfriend in a talk with young Russians in 2008

- By James Kilner

THE Russian gymnast believed to be Vladimir Putin’s lover said she was with her “ideal man” who bought her fur coats in an unearthed interview.

Alina Kabaeva and the president have never admitted to being romantical­ly involved despite persistent allegation­s since 2008 when a Moscow-based newspaper first reported the romance.

That year, it appears Ms Kabaeva, a celebrated athlete, did once publicly speak about her relationsh­ip without naming the president.

In the 2008 video, first reported by Mail Online, Ms Kabaeva, who was aged 24 at the time, takes questions from an audience of young Russians.

Four years earlier she had won a gold medal at the Athens Olympics, a victory that made her one of the most famous people in Russia.

“Have you met your ideal man?” a young boy asked her during the audience-led interview. Ms Kabaeva pauses for a few seconds, swivels in her chair and plays with a pen before declaring: “I have met him,” she giggles before saying that she was “so happy”.

Another girl asks who the mystery boyfriend is.

“A man, a very good man, a great man,” Ms Kabaeva said. “I love him very much,” adding: “Sometimes you feel so happy that you even feel scared.”

In 2008, Mr Putin was still married to his first wife, Lyudmila Ocheretnay­a. They didn’t divorce for another six years. In the video with the young Russians, Ms Kabaeva was also asked if she would ever steal a married man away from his wife and family.

She said: “If a man is already looking at another woman and is already talking to her then the problem in the family has already happened. In that case, there can be no good in that family.”

Asked what the last gift she received from her mystery man was, Ms Kabeava, said: “An Alaska coat, a coat with fur, very beautiful”.

This week, The Project, a Russian opposition media outlet, reported that

‘If a man is looking at another woman and is talking to her, the problem has already happened’

Alina Kabaeva on her mystery boyfriend

'I have met my ideal man'

'He is a very good man, a great man'

'I love him very much'

Ms Kabeava, now 39, and Mr Putin, 70, lived together in a secret palace with their children on the shores of Lake Valdai, 250 miles northwest of Moscow.

After retiring from gymnastics in 2006 Ms Kabaeva became an MP for Mr Putin’s United Russia party before becoming a director at a private media company.

The National Media Group is the largest private media company in Russia and helps the Kremlin project its propaganda, including its insistence that it is fighting Nazis in Ukraine.

Last year, Ms Kabaeva hosted several rallies and speaking engagement­s in support of Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ms Kabaeva and Mr Putin are thought to live at the lakeside palace with their two children. The grounds of the palace contain several buildings including a large mock dacha, a swimming pool and a sauna. Photos of the interior show a glass-topped dining room table surrounded by golden armchairs.

The Project also documented how Mr Putin had allegedly created a £100million property empire for his lover through a network of companies based in Cyprus.

In May last year, Britain placed sanctions on Ms Kabaeva because of what the Foreign Office said was her “close personal relationsh­ip” with Mr Putin.

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 ?? ?? Vladimir Putin has reportedly dated Ms Kabaeva since she was 24 while he was still married to his first wife
Vladimir Putin has reportedly dated Ms Kabaeva since she was 24 while he was still married to his first wife

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