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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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June 7th, 2013
05:34 PM ET

Putin and the gymnast? Kremlin denies president has flipped for younger woman

It may be the biggest breakup in Moscow since the dissolution of all those Soviet socialist republics - the nearly 30-year marriage between President Vladimir Putin and his wife is as dead as Anna Karenina.

But there may be more to the story.

Today the Kremlin – which is used to controlling the message – pushed back against rumors that Putin has been having an affair, and says he has no plans to re-marry.

The announcement, made after the Putins spent a quiet evening at the ballet, caught everyone by surprise Thursday.

Opening up about her divorce, Lyudmila Putin explained that she never really liked flying, or publicity.

That is probably tough when you're married to the hang gliding, judo chopping, chopper riding, bear befriending, no-shirt-wearing most interesting man in the world.

Enter the "other woman" – who might be able to keep up.

Reports today say she is a gold medal-winning Russian rhythmic gymnast half his age named Alina Kabaeva, a member of Russia's parliament.

Russian TV devoted an hour to documenting her life story. She graced the cover of Russian Vogue in January 2011, talking about a child rumored to be her son, and saying he is actually her nephew.

Kabaeva and Putin were photographed together at a Kremlin banquet almost a decade ago. Five years ago, a Moscow paper reported that Putin had divorced his wife and planned to marry the then 24-year-old Kabayeva.

Putin didn't like that – and told reporters to keep their "snotty noses" out of his business.

That Moscow paper no longer exists.

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