Russia's 'Secret First Lady' Still Avoiding Sanctions

Critic says Putin's alleged lover, Alina Kabaeva, is 'the big propaganda boss'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2022 10:50 AM CDT
Russia's 'Secret First Lady' Still Avoiding Sanctions
In this Nov. 4, 2004, file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with gymnast Alina Kabaeva at a Kremlin banquet in Moscow.   (AP Photo/ITAR-TASS, Presidential Press Service, File)

(Newser) – Alina Kabaeva, the alleged mistress of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom she's believed to have at least three children, is a potential target for US sanctions, the Biden administration said Monday in response to questions about why Kabaeva had been left out of sanctions targeting Putin and two of his daughters from his marriage to ex-wife Lyudmila. The Biden administration—which has been targeting family members of Putin and his associates on the belief that it's through them that wealth and assets are hidden, per the Washington Post—believes Kabaeva is hiding some of Putin's personal wealth abroad, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The former Olympic gold medalist in rhythmic gymnastics who was once named "Russia's most flexible woman" was first linked to Putin in 2008, five years before he confirmed his divorce from his then-wife of 30 years, per Newsweek. Kabaeva, who went on to serve as a lawmaker with Putin's United Russia party before becoming chair of the board of directors of the National Media Group, has never confirmed the relationship, nor has Putin. Nonetheless, she's widely considered Russia's "secret first lady," per CBS News. However, the Journal reported that US officials held off on sanctioning the 38-year-old out of fear that "so personal a blow to Mr. Putin ... could further escalate tensions between Russia and the US."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki seemed to deny that Monday. "No one is safe from our sanctions" and "there's more we will likely do," she said, per the Post, echoing comments made to the Journal by anonymous officials. Georgy Alburov, an associate of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, has been among those calling for Kabaeva to be immediately sanctioned, arguing she is "the big propaganda boss" and "her relatives get apartments and houses bought with money stolen from Russians." He adds that "if after all the war crimes in Ukraine, foreign governments are still afraid to make Putin angry, then he really does have the right to continue wiping his feet all over the world." (Read more Alina Kabaeva stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.

X