Putin`s divorce may clear way for new marriage: Analysts
Moscow: Vladimir Putin`s carefully staged announcement that his marriage is over appears at odds with his declared conservative values but would make sense if the Russian president plans to remarry, analysts said Friday.
In a country where there is a divorce for every two marriages, the announcement by Putin and Lyudmila, his wife of 30 years, may not make a dent in his popularity ratings, but is out of synch with his pronouncements about the values of traditional family.
The awkward announcement, made Thursday evening after the pair attended a ballet performance together in Moscow, lifted the lid on the poorly kept secret that Putin and the first lady are separated -- which had been the subject of years of muckraking but had never been officially revealed.
"The news is that Putin`s private life became a subject of public discussion for the first time," said political analyst Maria Lipman of Carnegie Centre in Moscow.
State channels on Friday were replaying the interview, in which Lyudmila, 55, bashfully said the divorce is "civilised" and that the 60-year-old president "really cares" about their two daughters.
Over the years, the personal life of the Putins became a subject of constant unconfirmed rumours, including one that the Russian president has two children with Olympic champion rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabayeva, now a lawmaker and 30 years old.
Lyudmila made regular public appearances during Putin`s first two terms in the Kremlin. However, she gradually disappeared from view after that and was conspicuously absent at many events where her presence was expected.
Tabloids at one point suggested that Lyudmila was staying at a monastery in western Russia.
When Putin stood side by side with Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin at an Easter ceremony in Cathedral of Christ the Saviour last month, while Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stood with his wife, the president became the target of another round of jokes.
"There is a critical mass of rumours, the (popularity) rating is falling, and the image of an efficient politician is eroding," said Lev Gudkov, the head of independent pollster Levada Centre.
"It seems that stating the fact was deemed more rational."
Divorce is frowned upon by the ultra-conservative Orthodox Church, and Putin himself declared this year that a "traditional family with lots of children should be a symbol of Russia."
"Putin lately has spoken about family values as the foundation for everything else, and suddenly he pulls this out of his sleeve.... It goes against his own rhetoric," said analyst Stanislav Belkovsky.
Putin`s spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday denied any rumours that the president has a relationship with another woman.
"It`s not difficult to take a look at Putin`s work schedule. 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," he told the Echo of Moscow radio station.
An imminent second marriage is "rather closer to the category of rumours and gossip," he added.
Observers however said that the public announcement ultimately serves little practical purpose, and that creating an image of a man completely devoted to his country -- along the lines of Joseph Stalin -- would never work in today`s Russia.
"In the modern world it is impossible to recreate a Stalin-esque image... of a man who thinks only about the motherland," said independent analyst Dmitry Oreshkin.
"If there is a new marriage, then it will be clear why the (divorce announcement) was done."
"Something has to follow," said Lipman, of the Carnegie Centre. "Putin wanted people to know, and the question is why he needs the divorce. To start a new marriage? It`s possible that we will find out about another woman."
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- DNA: Harmful chemicals found in Maggi, Nestle India still in denial mode
- CM Kejriwal shortlists 39 'unwanted' IAS officers in Delhi
- Rajasthan: Gujjars revive reservation agitation, block rail track
- DNA: Modi-led NDA govt's hits and misses in one year
- J Jayalalithaa sworn-in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
- Zee Media Exclusive interview with Congress leader Kamal Nath
- Mumbai: One injured in shootout at Film City
- ISIS to buy first nuclear weapon from Pak?
- Mumbai: CCTV captures assailant with gun at Film City
- Dr Subhash Chandra Show: Aspiring for more than what you have!
- BJP now central pole of Indian politics: Arun Jaitley
- Mathura SSP receives death threat letter, message for PM Modi
- Maharashtra FDA sends Maggi noodles for lab testing
- See what can Maggi do to your health!
- Watch: Fast N Facts @ 7:30pm
- IPL 2015, Qualifier 2: CSK vs RCB - As it happened...
- India to soon have its own space shuttle!
- PM Narendra Modi graces Digvijay Singh's son wedding reception
- Rahul Gandhi to pressurise govt to act on one-rank-one-pension issue
- Goa Board SSC Exam Results 2015 announced
- ISIS close to buying nuclear weapon from Pakistan?
- Manohar Parrikar visits forward areas along LoC, reviews security situation
- There will be no delay in appointing CIC, CVC: Jitendra Singh
- Credibility of Prime Minister's Office restored by BJP, says Arun Jaitley
- ISIS justifies raping slave girls, says Michelle Obama is 'worth $40'
- Arvind Kejriwal to highlight AAP govt's 100 days work on Monday
- BJP's plan for one-year celebration: 200 big rallies, 5,000 public meetings
- 'Unhappy' Celina Jaitley asks Sunny Leone to move out?