of Vladimir Putin and Alina Kabayeva, the 24 year old gymnast turned MP, is bizarre. On Thursday, the newspaper Moskovsky Korrespondent alleged that Putin was to leave his wife, who he has been married to since before Miss Kbayeva was born, to marry the gymnast. On Friday, Putin denied the story, the editor of the newspaper resigned and the owner issued a retraction and insisted that he had had no knowledge of the story before publication. By Friday night, publication of the Moskovsky Korrespondent had been suspended.
But the paper’s staff stand by the story while Putin’s denial includes this odd aside: “In other such publications other successful, beautiful young women and girls have been mentioned,” he said with a smile. “I don’t think it will be a surprise if I say that I like them all, because they are all Russian women.”