Interview with Putin’s lover: I have met ‘my ideal’ man said Alina Kabaeva

London: 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.

Former gymnast Alina Kabaeva and her “ideal” man Russian President Vladimir Putin.Credit:AP

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

In the 2008 video, first reported by Mail Online, 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.

Vladimir Putin speaks with Alina Kabaeva in a photo from 2004.Credit:AP

“Have you met your ideal man?” a young boy asked her during the audience-led interview. 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,” Kabaeva said. “I love him very much,” adding: “Sometimes you feel so happy that you even feel scared.”

In 2008, 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, 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, Kabeava, said: “An Alaska coat, a coat with fur, very beautiful”.

This week, The Project, a Russian opposition media outlet, reported that Kabeava, now 39, and 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 Kabaeva became an MP for 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, Kabaeva hosted several rallies and speaking engagements in support of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Kabaeva and 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 Putin had allegedly created a £100 million property empire for his lover through a network of companies based in Cyprus.

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

Telegraph, London

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