Rumors are circulating that Vladimir Putin's alleged girlfriend, former Olympic gold medal gymnast Alina Kabaeva, might be pregnant.
Local media took notice when Kabaeva, 32, recently appeared at a girls gymnastics festival in Moscow wearing a billowy red dress and was described by local media as looking overweight and tired.
"She appeared in a dress much larger and looser than her usual fashion choice, which media suggested was because she wanted to cover her fuller figure," the Daily Mail explained.
A former KGB agent who enjoys near-dictatorial powers in Russia as president, Vladimir Putin has become a major player on the world stage for, among other things, annexing Crimea (and perhaps eventually all of Ukraine) and last year stopping Obama from bombing Syria, a military action that most of Congress also opposed.
Putin held office as president of Russia from 2000 to 2008 and prime minister from 2009 to 2012. Although the results were disputed by opposition candidates, he was elected as president for a third time in March, 2012, for a six-year term under changes made to Russian law.
Cultivating a macho image as an outdoorsman and martial artist, Putin, 62, has himself been the subject of unsubstantiated health rumors. In an October, 2014, report, he was supposedly suffering from pancreatic or spinal cancer, a claim immediately denied by Kremlin spokespersons in Moscow.
This latest speculation about Putin's social life is interesting because when he dropped out of sight for about 10 days in March, one explanation offered, although unproven, was that the Russian leader was on "paternity leave" in Switzerland with Kabaeva (sometimes spelled Kabayeva) who was allegedly giving birth to a baby girl at an exclusive, private clinic there.
The Kremlin rejected that love child report and has consistently denied any relationship between Putin and Kabaeva, who was a member of the Russian parliament for Putin's United Russia party for seven years after her athletic career ended.
The Russian government has so far offered no comment about this latest speculation about Putin and Kabaeva.
In June of 2013, Vladimir Putin announced on state-controlled television that he was divorcing his wife of 30 years with whom he has two grown daughters. The divorce became final in 2014.
"[T]he secrecy that Mr. Putin maintains about his family life – including his daughters Katya and Mariya – has encouraged many Russians to think an alliance with Miss Kabayeva is possible," the London Telegraph opined.[Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images News]