The Kremlin has reported that the divorce between Russian president Vladimir Putin and wife Lyudmila Putina has been finalized. The couple had announced in June that they planned to end their 30-year marriage. Putin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov commented to a Russian news agency that the divorce had been "completed."
Putina née Shkrebneva met Vladimir Putin in Leningrad, Soviet Union when she was an undergraduate student of the Spanish branch of the philology department of the Leningrad State University. Putina was also an Aeroflot stewardess at the time. On July 28, 1983 Putin married Kaliningrad-born Lyudmila.
Putina kept a low profile on the Russian political stage, generally avoiding the public eye except for when compelled to by protocol, and limited her public role to encouraging statements about her husband. While married to Putin, Putina taught German at the Department of Philology of Leningrad State University, and served as the Moscow representative of the JSC Telecominvest.
Putin and Putina on their wedding day:
Putin and Putina initially lived in Germany from 1985 to 1990. During this time, a German spy allegedly befriended Putina, who said that Putin was physically abusive and had love affairs. As the couple left Germany in 1990, it was rumored that Putin left behind an illegitimate child.
The couple has two daughters, Putina (born in 1985 in Leningrad) and Yekaterina Putina (born in 1986 in Dresden, East Germany). Both attended the German School in Moscow called Deutsche Schule Moskau, until Putin's appointment as Prime Minister in 1999. Photographs of Mariya and Yekaterina have never been published by the Russian media, and no family portrait has ever been issued to the press.
Tabloids had in the past linked Putin romantically to gymnast Alina Kabayeva and ex-spy Anna Chapman. The Kremlin denied the accusations.
In a televised statement last year, Putin commented that the split was a "joint decision" adding that the two "practically never saw each other." Lyudmila added, "We will eternally be very close people."