Bunker or botox? Putin’s ‘lover’, 38, reappears with a ‘new look’ in Moscow – sparking rumors she has used same cosmetic surgeon as Vladimir – amid claims she was hiding in a Swiss chalet or Siberian nuclear bunker
Vladimir Putin ‘s rumored lover has reappeared with a ‘new look’ in Moscow following rumors she was hiding in a private chalet in Switzerland or a Siberian nuclear bunker. Olympic gold-medallist Alina Kabaeva, 38, resurfaced at a junior rhythmic gymnastics rehearsal in Moscow’s VTB Arena this week ahead of the Alina Festival, a charity event scheduled for Saturday. Kabaeva is widely believed to be the Russian strongman’s mistress and mother to four of Putin’s children whom he has never officially recognized.
Pictures of Kabaeva at the event in Moscow sparked speculation that the former gymnast had used the same cosmetic surgeon as Putin amid claims of botox and fillers. ‘Something has really changed in Kabaeva’s face… the legendary athlete was noticeably prettier,’ wrote the Russian Cosmopolitan.
Avoiding linking her to Putin so as not to be censored by the Russian state, the magazine said: ‘Alina Kabaeva is one of the most mysterious and secretive women in our country. ‘The gymnast almost never appears in public, does not [appear in] social networks, and it is not possible to accidentally see her on the street or in shopping centers.’
Telegram channel Tol’ko Nikomu – also choosing its words carefully to avoid the Russian censor – hinted that she and Putin share the same plastic surgeon. ‘A new rare appearance of Alina Kabaeva. This time she is dressed casually – and is again seen with a wedding ring.’
The West has so far not sanctioned Kabaeva, who as well as being Putin’s rumored secret partner is also chairman of the board of directors at National Media Group – a major Kremlin-obedient TV and newspaper behemoth – with a salary of almost $10 million (£8 million) a year. Kabaeva and her supposedly secret young family with Putin is believed to have been sent to a private chalet in Switzerland or one of several high-grade bunkers in the Urals, Arctic or Siberia. Pictured: Alina Kabaeva at the rehearsal of her sports festival Alina 2022 in VTB Arena, Moscow.
A petition, launched by citizens in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine two weeks ago, has called for Swiss authorities to kick Kabaeva out of Switzerland and deport her back to Russia. The appeal, which describes Kabaeva as the ‘favorite wife of the delusional dictator and war criminal Putin’, has since reached over 73,500 signatures. ‘It’s time you reunite Eva Braun with her Führer,’ the strongly-worded petition said. ‘Despite the current war, Switzerland continues to host an accomplice of Putin’s regime.’
Putin and Kabaeva have been pictured together on several occasions, and investigations by the Anti-Corruption Foundation, set up by jailed Putin opponent Alexei Navalny, revealed several Russian oligarchs have inexplicably bestowed gifts of property, money and other assets upon Kabaeva’s family.
Navalny has demanded from his prison cell that Kavaeva faces sanctions. Navalny posted from jail: ‘I want to remind you that the National Media Group, which owns the lion’s share of this apparatus of lies, undoubtedly belongs to Putin personally, and as such is even formally headed by Putin’s mistress Alina Kabaeva.’ He called for her as a Putin propagandist to be treated as a ‘war criminal’.
The former gymnast is seldom seen in public, but she was caught on video dancing at the ‘Divine Grace’ rhythmic gymnastics tournament in Moscow in December last year, mere weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. It was her last public appearance before this week.
Rumours first linked her 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 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.’ In 2001 Kabaeva was temporarily banned from competing in rhythmic gymnastics after failing a doping test. A year earlier she had won gold at the 2000 summer Olympics. Once regarded as Russia’s most eligible woman, her only other suitor has been a married Georgian policeman, according to media reports. This relationship petered out in 2005 amid complaints of tabloid intrusion into her life.
She is reported to have a fleet of Maybach limousines at her disposal, and was seen surrounded by a squad of security guards on visits to a Moscow cafe, likely indicating she qualifies for state-level security. Many Russians saw her as the reason for the breakup of Putin’s marriage to ex-first lady Lyudmila, 63, mother of his two adult daughters.