DETAILS about Vladimir Putin’s complicated private life have emerged, including a secret family currently in hiding as the tyrant continues his invasion of Ukraine.
Russian media had obeyed President Putin’s edict that "I have a private life in which I do not permit interference. It must be respected.”
In recent years though, titbits of news about his family life have leaked and has been growing since he ordered troops into the neighbouring Ukraine.
The Russian President and former KGB officer, 69, was married to Lyudmila Shkrebneva for over 30 years, until their divorce in 2014.
He met the former Aeroflot flight attendant in Leningrad – now Saint Petersburg – and married her in July 1983.
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They had two daughters, Maria and Katerina from his marriage to Lyudmila and they are his only confirmed children.
Lyudmila is a linguist and from 1990-94 taught languages at Leningrad State University, before her husband's political career took off in local government in St Petersburg.
After Putin became president in 2000, Lyudmila served as the First Lady of Russia but preferred to stay out of the limelight.
In June 2013 the couple announced they were to separate and the end of their marriage was confirmed in April the following year.
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In 2015, Lyudmila is reported to have married a man called Artur Ocheretny.
In the wake of Putin’s Ukraine invasion, Katerina had a favourite French holiday spot in Biarritz vandalised.
The luxury villa is actually owned by Kirill Shamalov, Tikhonova's ex-husband.
Pictures posted on Reddit showed the gates of the property daubed with the colours of the Ukraine flag.
What is happening between Russia and Ukraine?
RUSSIA and the Ukraine have remained technically at war since 2014.
Ukraine was aligned with Russia as part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991, following which it became an independent state.
Both nations remained closely tied – but Ukraine gradually began to distance itself, seeking deeper ties with the West.
The open conflict was triggered by the Ukrainian Revolution in 2014 – when an uprising overthrew the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych.
Vladimir Putin's forces reacted by annexing the region of Crimea from Ukraine – a move which was widely condemned by the West.
The conflict then spiralled when pro-Russian groups in Eastern Ukraine then took up arms against the state.
Russia gave their backing the separatist forces which formed breakaway republics in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Putin's forces then launched a military incursion into these regions as they gave their support to the rebels.
Russia continues to hold Crimea – and claims the region joined them willingly after they a referendum.
Almost seven years have now passed and the War in Donbass remains at a stalemate.
It is estimated some 14,000 have been killed in the conflict, including more than 3,00 civilians.
Ukraine and the rebels signed a new ceasefire in July 2020 – but clashes have been steadily increasing again since last November.
Putin is widely rumoured to be dating a glamorous gymnastics champion Alina Kabaeva.
The Olympic gold medal winner and TV favourite has not had any other suitors since 2008 despite being one of Russia's most eligible women.
She was first romantically linked with Putin a decade ago.
The Kremlin has denied she is his secret First Lady but rumours have persisted including claims she gave birth to at least one child.
One popular Russian newspaper called her the "First Lady, but in the shadows".
In September 2017 she was pictured with what looked like a wedding ring during an event in Italy.
THE ‘SECRET’ KIDS IN SWITZERLAND
The couple are thought to have had four secret children together, although there has never been any official confirmation of either their relationship or their kids.
Kabaeva, 38, is said to be "holed up in a very private and very secure chalet in Switzerland," a source told Page Six.
"Alina has two young boys and twin girls with Putin who were born in Switzerland," the source added.
"The kids all have Swiss passports, and I imagine she does also."
Kabaeva has been linked to the Russian leader for more than 13 years and vanished from her home country in 2018 amid rumours she had given birth to Putin's twins.
She is reported to have given birth to boys in April 2020 at a Moscow clinic.
The former MP in President Putin's United Russia party posed semi-nude for a men's magazine in 2004 and was once dubbed "Russia's most flexible woman".
Photographer Mikhail Korolov, who snapped the shoot for Maxim, said previously: "I didn't even need to persuade her. She behaved very naturally. She's full of sex."
Putin allegedly met Kabaeva around this time, when he was married and she was in a relationship with a police officer.
Talk of romance between the pair was first hinted at in 2008 when a newspaper owned by Putin's ex-KGB spy colleague Alexander Lebedev alleged a relationship.
Putin himself responded to the claims, hitting out at "those who with their snotty noses and erotic fantasies prowl into others' lives".
CALLS TO KICK ‘LOVER’ OUT OF SWITZERLAND
Kabaeva is now facing calls to be kicked out of Switzerland and deport her to Russia, with a petition now gaining more than 63,000 signatories.
The petition pulls no punches and describes her as the “favourite wife of the delusional dictator and war criminal Putin”.
It added: “It's time you reunite Eva Braun with her Führer.
“Despite the current war, Switzerland continues to host an accomplice of Putin's regime.”
It comes as:
- Vladimir Putin could face being deposed in a coup as fury grows in his inner circle over Russia's failures in Ukraine
- Russia has lost up to 40,000 troops in Ukraine along with at least 17 commanders
- Fears are growing of more brutal Russian tactics as Putin was accused of using phosphorous bombs
- Russian landing ship Orsk was blown up as it was anchored in the occupied port of Berdyansk
- Apocalyptic footage showed the devastation of Mariupol as the vicious bombardment of the city continues
- Video also shows the moment a Russian tank was blown to pieces as Putin has lost 3,300 vehicles during the invasion
- Britain is now sending another 6,000 anti-tank missiles to Ukraine to help the fight against Russia
Kabaeva currently holds the post of chair of the board of directors at National Media Group and is said to command a salary of £8million a year.
One of Putin’s alleged love children was unmasked as Elizaveta Krivonogikh in November 2020.
Elizaveta was named as Putin’s secret daughter by investigative media outlet Proekt backed by a visual computing expert at a British university.
Her mother Svetlana Krivonogikh, 45, is alleged to have had an affair with the strongman leader when he was head of the FSB counterintelligence service, prime minister and during his first term as Russian president.
And it was during this final stage of their alleged relationship when her daughter was conceived.
Svetlana has a $102 million fortune, is a shareholder in a major Russian bank and owns a St Petersburg nightspot known for its "erotic" shows, according to reports.
There have been a number of estimates about just how wealthy Putin and his family is, with one speculating he could be worth as much as up to £160billion.
Such a figure would make him the richest man in the world – eclipsing Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos and SpaceX chief Elon Musk.
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He is thought to have a slush fund for various mistresses and love children, a portfolio of expensive palaces, and a fleet of luxurious jets, cars and yachts.
The Kremlin however insists that Vlad instead lives a much more modest existence and reports about his personal life as gossip.
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