Putin’s girlfriend rumored to call Russian media ‘weapon of war’ in rare speech
The rumored longtime girlfriend of Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on the country’s state media in a rare recent appearance.
Alina Kabaeva, 39, has chaired the board of the National Media Group since 2014. Founded in 2008, NMG describes itself as Russia’s largest private media holding company and manages content on various platforms.
His comments were said to have been made at an NMG anniversary-themed event.
“Our people need this success because the work of information today in the conditions in which we live and fight for our country is like a weapon of war,” Kabaeva told participants, according to a translation in a video circulating online. “It’s as important as the Kalashnikov assault rifle. And war correspondents know that. Let’s work.”
Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, was among those who posted the video on Twitter. He called her an “alleged lover of Putin”.
Prior to her fame in the Russian media market, Kabaeva was both a gymnast and a politician.
After moving to Moscow as a teenager, she became one of Russia’s most decorated rhythmic gymnasts in history, winning two Olympic medals, 14 world championship medals and 21 European championship medals.
In 1998 in Portugal, she won the European Championships at the age of 15.
Prior to her retirement from the sport in 2004, she and teammate Irina Tchachina were convicted of using the banned substance furosemide. They were banned from participating in competitions between August 2001 and August 2002.
After quitting sports for good, Kabaeva served as a member of the Russian Duma, or parliament, from 2007 to 2014 as part of Putin’s United Russia party.
Her work in parliament included advocating for a law preventing many Russian orphans from being eligible for overseas adoption, NPR reported.
Kabaeva reportedly met Putin in the mid-2000s.
In 2008 Putin divorced his wife, Lyudmila Shkrebneva, after about 25 years of marriage. They have two daughters together. The divorce was only recognized by the Kremlin in 2013.
Rumors circulated at the time of the divorce that Putin and Kabaeva had secretly become engaged.
A few days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the New York Post‘s Page Six reported that Kabaeva and the couple’s four alleged children – two daughters and two sons – hid in a Swiss chalet.
People reported that Kabaeva made a public appearance last April at a gymnastics exhibition in Moscow. She is said to have made remarks in favor of the Russian invasion.
On August 2, 2022, the US Treasury sanctioned Kabaeva and many other Russian “elites”. It was previously sanctioned by the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Financial records and tax documents discovered by THE Washington Post in 2021 also claimed to show that Putin has a child with an additional mistress named Svetlana Krivonogikh.