Vladimir Putin and wife announce divorce in 2013
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Putin’s ex-wife loved him but he did not reciprocate, Vladimir Putin’s first official biographer revealed. When writing the 2000 book, Natalia Gevorkyan conducted a range of interviews with the 70-year-old himself as well as with his then-wife and two children. The 66-year-old journalist was left with the impression that his marriage was loveless with Putin never “holding” his then-wife, Lyudmila Putina.
In 2000, Ms Gevorkyan published the first authorised biography of the Russian President entitled Vladimir Putin: From the First Person.
Speaking on the BBC podcast, Putin, released less than a month after the war in Ukraine began, she revealed that she spoke with Putin’s then-wife, Lyudmila, at their estate just outside Moscow.
Lyudmila, she said, was someone she really liked, who spoke “frankly”. She was not, however, a “happy woman”.
From their conversation, she got the impression that the marriage had not “been a success” for the former First Lady of Russia.
She said: “You could feel it when she said ‘there are women who are admired by men, I think I’m not that kind of woman. He will not hold me in his hands, I’m not that kind of woman’.
“She was talking more with respect about him. I had a feeling that she really loved him and I had a feeling that she was not that much loved back.”
Ms Gevorkyan also interviewed Putin about his early life with the President once speaking to her in an “unexpectedly frank” manner, revealing that he had been engaged before.
He had wanted to marry another woman — whose name was also Lyudmila — and was so far along the process that they were preparing the wedding with the dress and suit already bought.
However, Putin did not go through with it. When asked to explain, he said it was “very painful” and that he did not wish to discuss it although it had been his decision, Ms Gevorkyan explained.
Putin and Lyudmila Shkrebneva, as she was then, tied the knot on July 28, 1983. They had two daughters together, Maria, 37, and Katerina, 36.
During Putin’s rise to power and time as Prime Minister and later President, Lyudmila stayed out of the spotlight as much as possible. Later, she became isolated from her husband as did their daughters.
Ms Gevorkyan also spoke with the couple’s two children, who were then in their mid-teens, and said they both “admired” their father and although they did not see him much, they were proud of him.
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It was seemingly the distance between them that eventually broke up the couple’s 31-year marriage. In 2013, the pair confirmed ongoing rumours that they were separating in a TV interview with it being described as a “civilised, mutual decision”.
The now 65-year-old Lyudmila told reporters: “This was really our mutual decision. Our marriage is over because we barely see each other. [Putin] is completely engaged with his work, our children have grown up, they’re living their own lives and we both have our own lives.”
It has long since been rumoured that Putin has a daughter with Alina Kabaeva, a supposed girlfriend and former Olympic gold medallist.
The 39-year-old and Putin are thought to have been in a relationship for 15 years. However, Moscow’s state media is not allowed to discuss the alleged couple or any children they may share.
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