Wedding bells for Vladimir Putin soon? His ex-wife has reportedly remarried

Persistent rumours have romantically linked Vladimir Putin, 63, to former Olympic rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabayeva.

Wedding bells for Vladimir Putin soon? His ex-wife has reportedly remarried
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lyudmila in Moscow. File photo

Moscow: The Kremlin on Tuesday refused to comment on a report that Vladimir Putin`s ex-wife has remarried, as state media speculated it could pave the way for the president himself to wed again.

Questioned during a daily phone briefing, Putin`s spokesman Dmitry Peskov was coy on whether Lyudmila, 58, has indeed remarried, as a Russian weekly magazine reported last week.

"You know that Vladimir Vladimirovich and Lyudmila Alexandrovna are divorced, and therefore in this case I don`t have the powers to say anything about Lyudmila Alexandrovna and her personal life," Peskov told journalists.

But the website of state television`s rolling news channel Rossiya 24 launched a rare speculative discussion of Putin`s personal life.

"After these reports, in the blogosphere suggestions appeared that possibly now we should await an announcement of Putin`s wedding, too," it said.

Carefully controlled state media would be unlikely to reference reports that were untrue and denied by the Kremlin.

The television website also posted a video of Putin`s 2014 phone-in session with the nation when he said: "I first need to give away my ex-wife Lyudmila Alexandrovna in marriage, then I`ll think about myself."

Persistent rumours have romantically linked Putin, 63, to former Olympic rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabayeva, 31 years his junior, although both have angrily denied a relationship.

A report by news weekly Sobesednik published last week found that a woman with the same name and date and place of birth as Lyudmila but the rare surname Ocheretnaya is registered as owning her sister`s former apartment since September last year.

It said Ocheretnaya received a passport with that surname in February 2015.

The report linked Ocheretnaya to a man called Artur Ocheretny, a 37-year-old who runs a centre that trains people in communications skills. He did not answer written questions from Sobesednik.

The apartment was owned by Putin from 1995 to 1997 and then by his mother-in-law. Located in his hometown of Saint Petersburg, it is tiny for a highly placed official at 139 square metres (1,500 square feet).

The details of the property ownership were checked by the anti-corruption foundation of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, which confirmed they were correct.

"So she got married, excellent, I wish them love and harmony. We don`t see any corruption here," Navalny wrote on his blog.

Putin married Lyudmila, a former airline stewardess, in 1983 and they have two daughters. They announced they were separating in 2013.

Lyudmila has not been seen in public since 2014, Sobesednik reported.