Surprising Reason Why “Putin’s Mistress” Kabayeva Escaped Intense Sanctions | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Surprising Reason Why “Putin’s Mistress” Kabayeva Escaped Intense Sanctions

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President Putin and Kabayeva, photographed in June 2001 (Image: AFP/Afro)

The government had planned to add her to the list of sanctions targets, but decided to put that on hold. The reason is that there is a risk that tensions between the U.S. and Russia could escalate, and there is a risk that President Putin will take aggressive action.

On April 24, the Wall Street Journal reported that The “girlfriend” who was removed from the U.S. sanctions list is Alina Kabayeva, 38, a women’s rhythmic gymnastics gold medalist at the Athens Olympics in August 2004. She is said to be President Vladimir Putin’s mistress.

In April 2008, the Russian tabloid Moskovsky Correspondent reported that President Putin and Ms. Kabayeva were having a man-woman relationship. President Putin has denied the relationship, but they have often been seen alone together. Kabayeva, who considers herself a “loyal subordinate of the president,” gave birth to a baby boy in December 2009 without revealing the father. It is said that she and President Putin have at least three children together.

Perhaps because of Putin’s favoritism, Kabayeva retired from active duty in February 2008, ran for and won a seat in Russia’s lower house of parliament, and has served as head of public relations for the Sochi Olympics held in February 2002 and as the general manager of the State Press Group, which controls the media.

Kabayeva is said to be living with her children in neutral Switzerland, and on April 23 she attended an event in the Russian capital, Moscow, to thank the military. It is rare for Kabayeva to make public appearances.

Why is Kabayeva so special?

Kabayeva’s performance during her working years

There is no doubt that Ms. Kabayeva is a person who is quite close to President Putin. This is probably why the U.S. authorities considered adding him to the sanctions list, as mentioned at the beginning of this article.

What is puzzling is that he was excluded from the target list. The U.S. media says, ‘Because of the risk of an aggressive response by President Putin,’ but why was Kabayeva singled out? President Putin has two daughters with his ex-wife, whom he divorced in June 2001. Their assets have been frozen. It is not surprising that President Putin would become aggressive in response to the measures taken by his daughters.

What is the reason for the U.S. government’s concern for Kabayeva? Professor Itsuro Nakamura of Tsukuba Gakuin University, an expert on Russian affairs, speculates.

I think the baby boy he has with Kabayeva has a big influence. President Putin’s ambition is to build his own dynasty and revive a great Russia. Kabayeva’s son is an irreplaceable successor to Vladimir Putin.

She will probably try her best as president for the next 10 years and pass the baton to her son. If Kabayeva is sanctioned, her family’s livelihood will be impoverished. I think the U.S. government is afraid of an overreaction from President Putin.

As long as there is a “presidential heir,” Kabayeva’s life seems to be in safe hands.

Kabayeva’s performance during her working years
Ms. Kabayeva is also active as a model
  • Photo: AFP/Afro AFP/Afro Shutterstock/Afro

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