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The many LOVELY 'friends' of Casanova Putin

Last updated on: June 14, 2013 09:42 IST

The many LOVELY 'friends' of Casanova Putin

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When Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila Putina announced on national television that they were divorcing after 30 years together, many Russians thought it was an elaborately staged hoax.

News about the divorce has shocked many citizens of conservative Russia, where the media follows an unofficial gag order against discussing Putin's personal life.

Putin, one of the most feared leaders in the world, has always fiercely guarded his family. His wife Lyudmila is rarely ever seen in public and their two daughters, Mariya and Yekaterina, have never been photographed.

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The many LOVELY 'friends' of Casanova Putin

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In a clinically crafted statement to a state television reporter, Putin and his soon-to-be-ex wife stated, "This is our joint decision. Our marriage is over because we practically don't see each other. One can say this is civilised divorce."

Foreign media outlets, safely beyond the clutches of the semi-dictatorial Putin, have had a field day speculating about who is likely to be Mrs Vladimir Putin No. 2.

We look at some of the many glamorous women who are considered to be close to the frequently shirtless President...

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Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin with wife Lyudmila Putina
Photographs: Reuters

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The many LOVELY 'friends' of Casanova Putin

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She is an Olympics gold medal-winning gymnast, a member of Russia's Parliament Duma, a cover girl for Vogue Russia and the rumoured mistress of the Russian strongman.

Russian daily Moskovsky Korrespondent, which reported way back in 2008 that Alina Kabayeva was secretly engaged to Putin, had to retract the story. The paper was soon forced to shut shop completely.

In 2007, at the age of 24, Alina became a member of Duma and also took charge of a media empire that controls several TV channels and a newspaper.

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Image: Alina Kabayeva


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The many LOVELY 'friends' of Casanova Putin

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The 30-year-old Alina reportedly has a son and a daughter with the 61-year-old Russian President.

When Putin's wife Lyudmila was not seen in public for over a year; some media reports claimed that she had been 'locked away' in a nunnery or a mental asylum so that the Russian President could enjoy his tryst with Alina peacefully.

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Image: Alina Kabayeva


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The many LOVELY 'friends' of Casanova Putin

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Putin has never made any effort to hide his fondness for nubile women half his age.

Yet, eyebrows were raised when he hired 25-year-old former glamour model Yana Lapikova as his personal photographer in 2011.

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Image: Yana Lapikova


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The many LOVELY 'friends' of Casanova Putin

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Yana, a former Miss Moscow contestant, was appointed as one of Putin's official personal photographers.

While fielding questions about whether Yana had the "professional merit" to land such a plum assignment, the Russian President's spokesperson stated with a straight face, "We don't select photographers based on gender. She is a really good photographer, her modelling past doesn't concern us at all, it is not a crime".

Indeed.

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Image: Yana Lapikova


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The many LOVELY 'friends' of Casanova Putin

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The real life story of Anna Chapman, a seductive-spy-turned-lingerie model, could give James Bond films a run for their money.

Anna, an economics graduate and CEO of a fictitious company, was arrested in New York City in 2010 on charges of acting as a spy for Russia. It was revealed that Anna had planned to seduce a senior member of United States President Barack Obama's administration to gather vital information for her masters in Russia.

She became a celebrity when she returned to Russia as part of a spy swapping deal.

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Image: Anna Chapman


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The many LOVELY 'friends' of Casanova Putin

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Since her return, Anna has taken part in fashion shows, posed on the cover of Maxim, worked in a TV show and written columns for a newspaper.

The spy, dubbed 'The Red under the Bed', reportedly also found the time to enjoy a torrid affair with Putin.

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Image: Anna Chapman


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