Russian Paper Closes after Alleging Putin Left Wife for Younger Woman

April 22, 2008 09:35 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The Moskovsky Korrespondent newspaper closed its offices indefinitely Friday after writing that the Russian president was engaged to a former gymnast.

30-Second Summary

The controversial story reported on plans for a June wedding for the Russian head of state, who will have left office by then. The alleged bride-to-be is 24-year-old gymnast-turned-politician Alina Kabaeva.

The story soon spread across the globe, with much attention being paid to the difference in age between the supposed lovers and Kabaeva’s physical attributes.

The New York Daily News described Kabaeva, an Olympic gold medalist and member of the Duma (the lower chamber of the Russian parliament), as a “photogenic beauty” of “extreme natural flexibility.” Among her many accomplishments, she has been the subject of a rap song by Russian group Igra Slov.

Putin promptly denied the allegations: “There is not one word of truth in what you have said.” He added, “I have always reacted negatively to those who, with their snotty noses and erotic fantasies, prowl into others' lives.”

The first deputy editor of the Korrespondent, Igor Dudinsky, portrayed the closing of his paper as a martyrdom in the name of press freedom. “We proved that Russia is not a democracy,” he told The Moscow Times. “We let the genie out of the bottle.”

Other reports say members of the Korrespondent’s staff admitted there was no factual basis to the story. The paper's owner, Alexander Lebedev, echoed that opinion.

Lebedev is a friend of the Kremlin who also controls the opposition paper Novaya Gazeta. British paper The Independent suggests that the story of Putin’s marriage may have been a trap to snare him into angering Putin.

Headline Link: ‘Better Dead than Read: Putin Affair Paper Shut’

Background: Allegations and denial

Analysis: Making Russian politics sexy

Video: Putin and Kabaeva hit the charts

Biographies: Vladimir Putin and Alina Kabaeva

Vladimir Putin (1952–)
Alina Kabaeva (1983–)

Opinion: Sex appeal and French parallels

Related Topic: ‘Film Commemorates Murdered Journalist’


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