Glamorous Alina Kabaeva, the suspected lover of Vladimir Putin, has made a rare public statement more than two-and-a-half years after she was last seen in public.
The famous Olympic gold medal-winning rhythmic gymnast, 38, has not been seen since rumours that she gave birth to twin boys in a Moscow hospital in 2019.
Her statement via the Russian Gymnastics Federation came a few days after fans complained they did not know how to contact the vanished Kabaeva on her birthday.
Glamorous Alina Kabaeva, the suspected lover of Vladimir Putin (both pictured), has made a rare public statement more than two-and-a-half years after she was last seen in public
Rumours first linked her romantically to Putin in 2008 when she was a pro-Kremlin MP, while many saw her as the reason for the breakup of Putin’s marriage to ex-first lady Lyudmila.
Her last known public appearance was in October 2018, when she defended her doctorate at a university in St Petersburg.
In May 2019, reports emerged that Kabaeva had given birth to twins, but a source close to her said: ‘We do not comment on the rumours.’
Major newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets carried the story on its website only to suddenly delete it and wipe all mentions of the claims, including from the internet cache.
Another report said the birth had been by Caesarean.
Newspapers and TV stations in her own National Media Group – from which she is believed to earn almost £8million a year – did not mention the rumoured birth of twins.
The star, 38, (pictured) this week told Russian gymnasts they were ‘ready and set to win for your country’ at the Olympics in a statement via the Russian Gymnastics Federation
The famous Olympic gold medal (pictured with Vladimir Putin) winning rhythmic gymnast has not been seen since rumours she gave birth to twin boys in a Moscow hospital
Tabloid Express Gazeta recounted this week in a rare story about her: ‘She literally vanished.
‘After the giving-birth-to-twins reports nothing was heard about Kabaeva, as if she had disappeared.
‘Alina is not giving interviews, nor attending social events, nor participating in any TV programmes.
‘One can only guess what is happening in her private life.’
The report did not link her to Putin.
The Kremlin has previously denied a relationship between Putin and Kabaeva.
Kabaeva was not pictured or filmed for her new statement, but was quoted saying in a message to Russia’s women gymnastics team: ‘I am very glad that we have all returned to the life we used to have, with training, competitions, tournaments and the Olympic Games.
‘I know that every one of you has worked and trained hard, and that now you are ready and set to win for your country, for those who support you.
‘At this long-awaited and exciting moment I want you to know that you are loved, supported, that people believe in you.’
She vowed: ‘I will be praying for you, and will be watching the competitions.’
She quoted famous Russian tsarist general Alexander Suvorov – a Putin hero – saying: ‘Pray to God as this is where victory comes from. God is our general, God leads us.’
She stressed: ‘He didn’t lose a single battle.’
Putin has previously said: ‘I have a private life in which I do not permit interference. It must be respected.’
He deplored ‘those who with their snotty noses and erotic fantasies prowl into others’ lives’.
Kabaeva is on record as saying she had met a man who ‘I love very much’, gushing: ‘Sometimes you feel so happy that you even feel scared.’
Her last known public appearance (pictured) was in October 2018 when she defended her doctorate at a university in St Petersburg
Many Russians saw Alina (pictured) as the reason for the breakup of Putin’s marriage to ex-first lady Lyudmila, 62, mother of his two adult daughters
Once regarded as Russia’s most eligible woman, the only other suitor she has been linked to by the media was a married Georgian policeman.
This relationship petered out in 2005 amid complaints of tabloid intrusion into the sportswoman’s life.
She once posed almost nude for Maxim and was described as ‘full of sex’ by a photographer.
There have been many reports of her wearing a wedding ring, but no records of a marriage.
She is reported to have a fleet of Maybach limousines at her disposal, and has been surrounded by a squad of machine-gun toting security guards on visits to a Moscow cafe.
Many Russians saw her as the reason for the breakup of Putin’s marriage to ex-first lady Lyudmila, 62, mother of his two adult daughters.
The dictator of neighbouring Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko hinted that Putin’s divorce decision came about because Kabaeva ‘put pressure on the president’.