Russian President Vladimir Putin’s absence from the public eye this month has spawned a bevy of rumors about what could prevent him from being seen in public. One rumor gaining traction on social media and in Russia arrives via Switzerland tabloid Blink, which is reporting that Putin, 62, is attending the birth of the child of his alleged girlfriend.
The tabloid cites a source from Clinic Saint’Anna, a private clinic that specializes “in gynecology and is popular with wealthy Russians,” stating that Putin’s girlfriend Alina Kabaeva, 31, flew to the clinic a few days ago for the arrival of their baby.
Ticino News, a newspaper headquartered in the city where the clinic is located, reported the birth occurred last week and Putin stayed with friends. The paper said a spike in Russian cars in the area, the disappearance of Putin, and “his friendship with a gynecologist” at the clinic “confirm” the birth of his child. Another source told Corriere del Ticino that Kabaeva gave birth to a baby girl.
Little is known of Putin’s private life. Considering the fact that the majority of media in Russia are state-owned, most journalists do not ask any questions about his life behind closed doors. A new documentary on Putin from German television claims Putin fears growing old and resorted to cosmetic surgery to appear youthful.
Rumors of a relationship between Kabaeva and Putin began to circulate in 2008 in the independent publication Moskovsky Korrespondent. The publication reported Putin divorced his wife Lyudmila to marry Kabaeva. The publication shut down shortly after it reported the rumors. Putin and Lyudmila announced their divorce in 2013 after 30 years of marriage. Kabaeva represented Putin’s United Russia party in Parliament for six years before she stepped down in September 2014. She accepted a job “to run a major pro-Kremlin media group.” The Guardian reports:
The National Media Group owns 25% of Channel One, Russia’s main state-controlled television channel, and also owns stakes in other channels and newspapers, including a majority share of the influential Izvestia daily. The group is controlled by Yuri Kovalchuk, a longstanding friend of Putin who was sanctioned by the US earlier this year due to his closeness to the Russian president.
Since the rumors of their romance surfaced, others have claimed the two secretly married and Kabaeva already gave birth to two of Putin’s children. Blick mentioned this new baby could be the third for them after she gave birth to a son named Dmitri in 2009 and a daughter in 2012.
Of course, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the baby talk.
“Information that a child has been born to Vladimir Putin is not true,” claimed Peskov. “I am planning to appeal to people who have money to organise a competition for the best journalistic hoax.”