"The divorce has completed."
Although they publicly announced that they were splitting last June, Russian President Vladamir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila Aleksandrovna Putina, are now officially divorced.
During a television appearance last year, after attending a ballet performance in Moscow, 61-year old Putin said, "It was a joint decision: we hardly see each other, each of us has our own life."
Putina, who has always disliked publicity, called it a "civilized divorce."
Putin and Putina met in the early 1980s in Leningrad, now St Petersburg, where they were both at university. They married in the summer of 1983, living together in Germany from 1985 to 1990 when Putin was a high-ranking KGB officer in Dresden. It is rumored that while they were there, Putin beat his wife and "had numerous sexual affairs," leaving behind an illegitimate child when they left the country.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian prime minister, dismissed the rumors, telling the Daily Telegraph that the "stories were complete nonsense."
Rumors also surfaced that Putin was to divorce and marry Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva, who was among the final six torchbearers at the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics in February of this year. These rumors were denied. The Moskovsky Korrespondent, which ran an article about Putin and Kabayeva, was closed by its owner, billionaire Alexander Lebedev, after the article first ran in 2008.
Allegations of an affair with spy-turned-lingerie model Anna Chapman have also been denied.
The former couple has two daughters in their 20s, Maria and Yekaterina, who have never been portrayed in any family portraits or published by the Russian media.
The name of 56-year old Putina has officially been removed from the Russian President's official biography on the Kremlin website, which now only lists his two daughters and brief outline of his career.
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