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Vladimir Putin’s lover makes rare appearance in bizarre festival with chilling ‘Z’ symbol – World News



Vladimir Putin’s ‘lover’ has led a spectacular patriotic-themed gymnastics ballet festival after emerging in public in recent days for the first time since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Olympic gold-medal winning Alina Kabaeva, 38, is seen on videos at a performance with a uniformed military choir.

The event included some of the Soviet Union’s most patriotic songs in a celebration of the country’s victory over the Nazis — but also the ‘Z’ symbol likened by critics to a Russian swastika invented for the war in Ukraine.

The full show will be broadcast on May 8, the eve of a vast Red Square military parade commemorating ‘Victory Day’, the end of the Second World War.

But the theme at her annual Alina Festival was unmistakably intended to boost patriotic support for Putin’s military adventure in Ukraine.

Kabaeva’s reappearance comes after rumours that she was hiding in a Swiss chalet, or a Siberian nuclear bunker, following the start of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Wearing a patriotic St George’s ribbon across her chest and in a bright pink dress, she linked victory in the Second World War to today’s events.

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Kabaeva has been described as the ‘most mysterious and secretive women in Russia’
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Image:

social media/east2west news)

She said: “This theme, you see, this story, doesn’t only go into the past. It stays with us.”

Her words resonate with Putin’s outlandish claim – denounced in the West – that his modern-day war is against “Nazis” who dominate Ukraine, just as World War Two, known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War, was to defeat Hitler’s Nazis.

“This celebration is not just for the whole country, this is a holiday for every family,” Kabaeva said.

“Every family has a war story. And we mustn’t ever forget it, but pass it on, from generation to generation.”

Girl performers of different ages were dressed in a wartime uniform at the show.

Some represented Russia, others – who Kabaeva posed with – Belarus. Others even dressed to represent Ukrainians, in a slanted performance to reenact Soviet victory.







Kabaeva was rumoured to be hiding in a Swiss chalet, however she has now reappeared in Russia
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Image:

Kremlin.ru/ East2west News)

Putin, 69, is expected to use the May 9 ‘Victory Day’ to claim some kind of victory from his chaotic war in Ukraine, despite a Russian death toll that may now exceed 30,000.

The Russian media continued to obsess about Kabaeva’s new-look since appearing for the first time since December.

Avoiding linking her to Putin, Russian Cosmopolitan said of a woman widely believed to be Russia’s unofficial first lady: “Alina Kabaeva is one of the most mysterious and secretive women in our country.

“The gymnast almost never appears in public, does not [appear in] social networks, and it is not possible to accidentally see her on the street or in shopping centres.”

Unlike two of Putin’s adult daughters – Maria and Katerina – media mogul Kabaeva, who controls a significant segment of the pro-Kremlin Moscow media, has avoided Western sanctions.

Yet jailed Putin foe Alexei Navalny has demanded sanctions against her.







Kabaeva, who controls a significant segment of the pro-Kremlin Moscow media, has avoided Western sanctions
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Image:

Kremlin.ru/ East2west News)

He singled out Kabaeva’s National Media Group arguing that it was likely owned by Putin personally.

Her salary has been estimated at almost £8 million a year, compared with the average annual figure of £5,600.

Navalny posted from jail: “I want to remind you that the National Media Group, which owns the lion’s share of this apparatus of lies, undoubtedly belongs to Putin personally, and as such is even formally headed by Putin’s mistress Alina Kabaeva.”

He called for her as a Putin propagandist to be treated as a “war criminal”.

Kabaeva has kept a low profile in the Ukraine war – but her media has been vocal in cheerleading for Putin.

Earlier, she ignored the lurch towards war when she was caught on video in December dancing in Moscow, her last public appearance before this week.







A gymnast shows the chilling Z sign at Alina Kabaeva’s patriotic-themed rhythmic gymnastics festival Alina 2022 at the VTB Arena, Moscow
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Image:

social media/east2west news)

There has been speculation that she and her supposed secret young family with Putin have been hiding from the war either in Switzerland or in one of several high-grade bunkers in the Urals, Arctic or Siberia.

A petition demanding she was thrown out by the Swiss authorities garnered 75,000 signatures, demanding that “it’s time you reunite Eva Braun with her Führer”.

Rumours first linked her romantically to Putin as long ago as 2008 when she was a pro-Kremlin MP.

The newspaper printing the story was rapidly closed down.

Putin – who in 2013 announced his divorce from wife Lyudmila, a former Aeroflot stewardess – has previously said: “I have a private life in which I do not permit interference. It must be respected.”

He deplored “those who with their snotty noses and erotic fantasies prowl into others’ lives”.

Kabaeva is on record as saying she had met a man who “I love very much”.

She added: “Sometimes you feel so happy that you even feel scared.”

In 2001 Kabaeva was temporarily banned from competing in rhythmic gymnastics after failing a doping test.

A year earlier she had won gold at the 2000 summer Olympics.

Once regarded as Russia’s most eligible woman, her only other suitor has been a married Georgian policeman, according to media reports.

This relationship petered out in 2005 amid complaints of tabloid intrusion into her life.

She once posed almost nude for Maxim and was described as “full of sex” by a photographer.







Alina Kabaeva pictured at the rehearsal of her sports festival Alina 2022 in VTB Arena, Moscow
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Image:

East2west)

There have been many reports of her wearing a wedding ring, but no records of a marriage.

She is reported to have a fleet of Maybach limousines at her disposal, and was seen surrounded by a squad of machine-gun toting security guards on visits to a Moscow cafe, likely indicating she qualifies for state-level security.

Many Russians saw her as the reason for the breakup of Putin’s marriage to ex-first lady Lyudmila, 63, mother of his two adult daughters.

The dictator of neighbouring Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, hinted that Putin’s divorce decision came about because Kabaeva “put pressure on the president”.

From 2018 she disappeared from the public eye for almost three years, amid suspicions she had given birth to twins at a Moscow hospital .

Tabloid Express Gazeta recounted in May last year – when she was still out of sight – that she had “literally vanished.”







Kabaeva was spotted with a ring on her right hand, in the exact spot couples wear their wedding ring in Russia
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Image:

Ekaterina Sirotina/east2west news)

The publication added: “After the giving-birth-to-twins reports nothing was heard about Kabaeva, as if she had disappeared.

“Alina is not giving interviews, nor attending social events, nor participating in any TV programmes.

“One can only guess what is happening in her private life.”

In her only statement linked to the war, Kabaeva slammed the refusal to allow the Russian team to compete at the Beijing Paralympics.

“There has never been a more shameful page in the history of world sports,” she said.

“They did not worry and did not remove from the competition any country that participated in the destruction of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.







Kabaeva had not been seen in weeks amid speculation she was in Switzerland
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

“But sports officials were very angry when Russia decided to protect the Donbas and Luhansk from the Nazis.”

She complained that Olympic officials “tried so hard to humiliate the Russians, banned our symbols, flag and anthem”.

But still Russians succeeded “due to the talent of our athletes. Russia was, is and will be a great sports power – and you can’t do anything about it.”

NMG is seen as under the sway of Yury Kovalchuk, 70, a sanctioned oligarch very close to Putin.

The group owns shares in a range of major Russian outlets including REN TV, Channel 1, STS TV, 5th Channel, Izvestia and Sport Express, which are also subsidised by the state.

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