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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Vladimir Putin walks alone in St Petersburg

Vladimir Putin, Russian president, has looked gloomier than usual in recent times. In June, The New Yorker reports a television reporter approached Putin and his wife, Lyudmila, in the Grand Kremlin Palace. The First Couple was leaving after the first act of the ballet “La Esmeralda.” After a few minutes of small talk about music and dancing, she asked a most impossible question: Why did they appear so rarely in public together? Putin’s response, confirmed by his wife: they had decided it was time for them to divorce. This is not the first time ballet happened to be the setting for a Russian personal and political drama: back in August, 1991, state television was playing “Swan Lake” just as Communists attempted a coup.

The New Yorker added that Putin has never appeared in public with his family; the Russian people have never even seen either of his two daughters. On the very rare occasions that he even mentioned his daughters, Putin hasn’t said their names—he just refers to them as “they”. His wife Lyudmila barely acted as the First Lady. After the first years of his tenure she stopped accompanying him abroad, and more or less disappeared from the scene. A common half-serious suggestion was that Putin had had her locked in a nunnery—just as the Russian tsars did when they sought to get rid of unwanted tsarinas.

The London Independent reported Friday that Putin cut a lonely figure after he was spotted wandering by himself through the streets of St Petersburg.

On Friday, the Russian leader was seen pensively walking through the city following the funeral of his Judo instructor Anatoly Rakhlin. Putin marched on wearing a moody look and avoiding eye contact, while his aides and security rushed to catch up with him.

The newspaper said Putin is known to be a master in the dojo when it comes to Judo and it is clear that the death of Rakhlin has affected him deeply. Rakhlin had reportedly been battling a long illness and considered himself to be a second father to the president.

Finfacts, Aug 09, 2013: Russia has more than 110,000 small business owners in jail

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