"I Love Him So Much": What Vladimir Putin's "Girlfriend" Said In Old Interview

Vladimir Putin and Alina Kabaeva have never admitted to being romantically involved with each other.

'I Love Him So Much': What Vladimir Putin's 'Girlfriend' Said In Old Interview

Alina Kabaeva became an MP for Vladimir Putin's United Russia party after retiring from gymnastics.

There is always a lot of interest in the life of Vladimir Putin, the influential Russian leader and former intelligence (KGB) officer. And this interest has been renewed since Russia attacked Ukraine in February last year. Now, an old interview of former Russian gymnast Alina Kabaeva, considered to be Mr Putin's "lover" is doing the rounds on the internet in which she talks about her ideal man. It was originally recorded in 2008, the year a Moscow-based newspaper first reported on the affair. However, both Mr Putin and Ms Kabaeva have never admitted to being romantically involved with each other.

Still, a lot has been said about the Russian President and his "close associate" Ms Kabaeva.

In the interview, Ms Kabayeva, then 24, is seen interacting with a group of Russian schoolchildren. She had won a gold medal at the Athen Olympics in 2004 that made her the most famous people in Russia.

As per a report in The Telegraph, that carried the excerpts of the interview, a boy asks Ms Kabaeva, "Have you met your ideal man?"

She pauses for a few seconds, swivels in her chair and plays with a pen before declaring: "I have met him." She giggles before saying that she was "so happy".

Another girl asks who the mystery boyfriend is.

"A man, a very good man, a great man,' Ms Kabaeva said, adding: "I love him very much."

In 2008, the year this interview was recorded, Mr Putin was married to his first wife, Lyudmila Ocheretnaya. The couple divorced in 2014.

In the video, Ms Kabaeva was also asked if she would ever steal a married man away from his wife and family.

"If a man is already looking at another woman and is already talking to her then the problem in the family has already happened," she said. "In that case, there can be no good in that family."

Asked about the last thing she gave her mystery man, Ms Kabaeva said she had gifted him "an Alaska coat, a coat with fur, very beautiful".

In the wake of the tension with the West over Ukraine invasion, many of Mr Putin's aides, including Ms Kabaeva, faced sanctions. 

She retired from gymnastics in 2006 and became an MP for Putin's United Russia party before becoming a director at a pro-Kremlin private media company, The National Media Group.

It is a holding firm that owns stakes in almost all main Russian media outlets that spread government propaganda.

In March this year, Independent reported that Mr Putin has secretly spent millions on big properties for Ms Kabaeva (now 39) and their children.

The report was based on the investigation done by news portal The Project, a Russian opposition website banned by the Kremlin. It had said that Ms Kabaeva and Mr Putin have been living together in a luxurious palace about 250 miles north-west of Moscow.