Alina Kabaeva, Vladimir Putin’s secret lover and mother of his children, hit by a series of British sanctions

The British government on Friday sanctioned Alina Kabaeva, the Olympic champion gymnast who is believed to be Vladimir Putin’s longtime lover and mother of some of his children, in a decision that is expected to annoy the Russian president as his war in Ukraine draws to a close. his 80th day.

“Today’s sanctions will hit this cabal which owes Putin its wealth and power, and which in turn will support Putin and his war machine,” the British government said in a statement.

Countries around the world have been working to cut off Putin and his inner circle of oligarchs and cronies since his invasion of Ukraine in February in order to increase pressure on Moscow and cut off key allies from the global financial system. But pressure is mounting to expand that list to include his family members and closest allies to get the sanctions stinging.

British sanctions targeting Kabaeva also target his grandmother, Anna Zatseplina, as well as Putin’s ex-wife, Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, and several other associates and family members.

The European Union has also offered to sanction Kabaeva, a European sanctions authority told The Daily Beast, but potential sanctions have been put on hold due to Hungary’s objections to Russia’s oil ban. Bloomberg News first reported the supposed sanctions.

Kabaeva, who won gold in rhythmic gymnastics at the 2004 Olympics, has since retired and started working in politics as a pro-Kremlin legislator in Russia. She has since founded a charitable foundation and worked as the head of the Russian National Media Group, which oversees pro-government media, taking in a salary of around $12 million in 2018, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Her leadership in the media group and her role in promoting Russian propaganda and thereby undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity during the war are part of the reason she faces sanctions, Bloomberg News reported.

The Kremlin has denied the love ties between Putin and Kabaeva.

“Members of his family form a hard core of his inner circle, receiving positions of power because of their affiliation with the regime,” the British government said on Friday.

The Biden administration has considered sanctioning Kabaeva, but she has been spared in recent days, in part because White House officials feared her sanction would be seen as such a low and personal blow that Putin could escalate the war in Ukraine in response, like the Log reported.

The White House has indicated that more sanctions are yet to come.

“Nobody is safe from our sanctions,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week when asked about Kabaeva. “We will probably do more.”

The tightening grip on the Kremlin’s inner circle comes as Putin weighs in on escalating Ukraine’s war beyond just the country’s eastern regions, in a return to his former conflict goals, lawmakers have warned. this week from Biden administration intelligence officials.

But his private life may yet prove a more volatile influence on the war. Putin has long been sensitive to his privacy, seeking to keep it out of public view. Rumor has it that Kabaeva gave birth to at least one of her children in a hospital in Switzerland in 2015, and is also the mother of several of her other children.

Putin has previously commented on his rigid focus on protecting his privacy from public view. “I have a private life in which I do not allow interference. This must be respected,” Putin said following reports that he was romantically involved with Kabaeva.

When the Moskovsky Korrespondent reported that Putin’s former marriage had ended in divorce and that he was engaged to Kabaeva at Konstatinovsky Palace in Saint Petersburg, the publication quickly closed, citing mysterious financial problems.

“Of course, society has the right to know about the lives of public figures, but even then there are certain limits,” Putin said at the time, according to a report by RFERL.

But Kabaeva, who is said to have taken up residence in a chalet in Switzerland while Putin was at war, according to reports by Page Six, is receiving a wave of negative attention for taking advantage of her ties to the Kremlin. A petition which has collected more than 70,000 signatures has been circulating, calling for his expulsion from Switzerland.

“Despite the current war, Switzerland continues to host an accomplice of Putin’s regime,” the petition reads.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that Kabaeva had been spotted in Switzerland.

However, it is currently unclear whether Kabaeva is indeed in Switzerland. The Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police “has no indication of Ms. Kabaeva’s presence in Switzerland,” a spokesperson for the Swiss Embassy in the United States told The Daily Beast. Kabaeva also does not have a permanent residence permit in Switzerland, the spokesperson said.

She was spotted at a gymnastics event in Moscow last month, according to photos that Ekaterina Sirotina, the head coach of Russia’s national junior rhythmic gymnastics team, posted on Instagram.

And regardless of the extent of her supposed romantic relationship, Kabaeva was enriched by her work for the regime and appeared to be pushing pro-Kremlin and pro-war propaganda herself.

Just last month, she stood in front of posters displaying the “Z” logo, a symbol of support for Russia’s war in Ukraine, to deliver a speech at the gymnastics event.

“Every family has a war-related story, and we must pass those stories on to future generations,” Kabaeva said. “We will only win from this.”

Putin may not have a neutral party in Switzerland to protect his alleged mistress, despite the country’s tendency to declare neutrality. Switzerland has joined other European and Western countries in sanctioning the Russians and implementing punitive measures. And even though Jacques Pitteloud, the Swiss ambassador to the United States, said his country would maintain a legal definition of neutrality, the Swiss have sanctioned hundreds of Russians since the start of the war, including two of Putin’s daughters. , so it seems that loved ones are not off the table.

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