RUSSIA ABUZZ WITH REPORTS MR PUTIN IS TO WED A 24-YEAR-OLD GYMNAST

17 APRIL 2008


Russia is buzzing with reports that the country's outgoing president, Vladimir Putin, has divorced his wife of 25 years, Ludmilla, and is planning to tie the knot with 24-year-old rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva.

Although Russian newspaper Moskovski Korrespondent says a wedding date has been set for June 15, neither the 57-year-old groom nor his fiancée have confirmed the happy news.

Indeed, news that their president officially split from his 50-year-old First Lady two months ago came as a surprise to most Muscovites.

Mr Putin's new love, who was born in the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent, represented her country at both the Sydney and Athens Olympic games before becoming a member of the national parliament. She has also modelled, and appeared in an action film.

The Kremlin has so far refused to comment on the newspaper report which cites as its source the St Petersburg party planner bidding to organise the couple's lavish reception.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
According to local newspaper Moskovski Korrespondent, the president plans to wed Alina, who's now a member of parliament, on June 15
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The premier apparently divorced Ludmilla, his wife of 25 years, two months ago Photo: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
His new love is a former Olympic gymnast and modelPhoto: © Rex