Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila have announced their “marriage is over”.
“It was our joint decision, our marriage is over,” President Putin said in the interview to Russia24 state channel. The announcement was made at the Grand Kremlin Palace, where Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin attended the Esmeralda ballet.
Asked to confirm if that was a divorce, Lyudmila Putina, who was standing by the President’s side, told the media “Yes, you can say that, this is civilized divorce.”
“I do not like publicity, and the flights are complicated for me. We love our children, we are proud of them and see each other often,” Lyudmila Putina.
Thursday’s ballet visit is the first joint appearance in more than a year. At the last Easter ceremony at Christ the Savior Cathedral, President Putin was accompanied by Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin.
However, Mrs. Putina said “they will always be friends”.
“I am grateful that he supports me,” she said.
Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin have been married for 30 years, since 1983, three years after they first met.
Vladimir Putin and Lyudmila were introduced to each other by a mutual friend. Lyudmila worked as a flight attendant on domestic airlines and had come to St. Petersburg, where Vladimir was based, (back in Soviet times it was called Leningrad) for three days with a friend.
“I was already working in the First Main Directorate in St. Petersburg, when a friend of mine called and invited me to the Arkady Raikin (named after a popular Soviet actor and comedian) theatre. He said he already had the tickets, and mentioned there would be two young ladies joining us. So we went to the performance and the young ladies did join us. The next day, we went to the theatre again, but it was now my turn to buy the tickets. And the same thing happened on the third day. I then began dating one of the girls. I became friends with Lyudmila, my future wife,” Putin recalls in his biography posted on his official website.
Three years after their first meeting, Vladimir proposed to Lyudmila. “I knew that if I did not marry for another two or three years, I would not marry at all. True, I was used to life as a bachelor, but Lyudmila changed that,” Putin admitted.
They have two daughters – Maria, 27, and Ekaterina, 26. According to unconfirmed reports, Putin has one grandson, born in August 2012. They both live and work in Moscow.
First Lady is a qualified linguist. In 1986 she graduated from St. Petersburg State University. In her public activity she dedicated efforts to preserve and develop the Russian language.
Putin’s private life has never been public. He reluctantly and briefly answered questions about his family.
Despite the high divorce rate in Russia, public divorces are uncommon among the country’s top-politicians and officials. Putin is the first Russian president to divorce while in office.
As for other countries, France and Italy have also seen their leaders separate. In 2007 Nicolas and Cecilia Sarkozi divorced after almost 10 years of marriage. Italy’s now ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi also divorced his second wife Veronica Lario in 2009 after 19 years marriage.
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