Alina Kabaeva and Nicole


Upon the announcement from Vladimir Putin that he will divorce his wife of nearly 30 years, Lyudmila, speculation is rampant that the Russian President is dating gymnast Alina Kabayeva.

Alina Kabaeva has a dog called Nicole – a little Maltese that she got in Moscow few years ago. She’s a beauty – so sweet and clever. We just adore her.

Alina Kabayeva, who is 30 years Putin’s junior, won a gold medal for rhythmic gymnastics in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and a bronze during the Sydney Olympics in 2000. She was the subject of a state television documentary in late May. which showed her in a favorable light, according to Reuters. The affair rumors arose from a newspaper owned by Putin’s rival, Alexander Lebedev.

However, Alina Kabayeva, who is now a lawmaker as a parliamentary deputy for the Kremlin-backed United Russia party, was spotted kissing Putin in a Moscow restaurant as early as 2008. Some have said the pair even have children together. But the brunette beauty recently denied those rumors: On Russia’s Channel One network last month on her 30th birthday, Alina Kabayeva denied having children, though she never mentioned Putin’s name.

“The whole country — and perhaps now other countries, too — write that I’ve got two or three children,” she said. “Sadly, I don’t have children yet. But, of course, I want to be a mother. Still, I’m not yet.” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov also denied claims to the Echo of Moscow radio station on Friday that the president is in a relationship with another woman. “Take a look at Putin’s work schedule,” Peskov said, “and you will see that his life, perhaps unfortunately, is in no way tied to any family relationships, only to those responsibilities that he has as the head of state.”

Peskov added that a second marriage, the latest claim in the divorce saga, is “rather closer to the category of rumors and gossip.” Putin himself said in 2008 at a conference in Sardinia that he will not marry Kabayeva and journalists should keep their “snotty noses and erotic fantasies” private.

A blogger named Leonid Volkov said Putin wants to keep his affair a secret to avoid looking like an unfaithful husband, which despite Russia’s high divorce rate, could give him a bad image. “I’ve heard taxi drivers say it many times: ‘If he’s cheating on his wife, it means he’s deceiving the country,'” Volkov wrote on Twitter.