London: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin`s
alleged mistress is Vogue Russia`s cover girl for its January 2011 issue, a media report said.
The 27-year-old former rhythmic Olympic gymnast Alina
Kabayeva, wearing a gold Balmain dress with her hands on her
hips, will feature on the front cover of Vogue`s January 2011
edition, `The Daily Telegraph` reported.
The decision to put Kabayeva on Vogue Russia`s front
cover was taken by the magazine`s new editor Viktoria Davydova
who has courted controversy given the fact that Putin recently
denied a newspaper report that he has left his wife Ludmila,
with whom he has two daughters, for Kabayeva.
While there is no substantive evidence that 58-
year -old Putin is romantically linked to Kabayeva, who also
happens to be an MP for his ruling United Russia party, the
alleged affair has long been the hottest gossip topic among
The rumour first came to public prominence in
2008 when a Russian newspaper, owned by billionaire oligarch
Alexander Lebedev, quoted a source as insisting the story was absolutely true.
Lebedev shut the newspaper down soon afterwards
claiming it had not been a commercial success though many
suspected the real reason was to appease an angry Putin.
The rumours later escalated when bloggers claimed that
Kabayeva had subsequently given birth to Putin`s love child.
Putin has angrily claimed that there is "not
one word of truth" in any of the allegations, while Kabayeva`s
spokesperson has refused to discuss what she derided as
Putin has rarely been seen in public with his wife
Ludmila in recent years, citing a heavy workload. He married
Ludmila, a former air hostess, in 1983, the same year as Miss
Kabayeva was born.