VLADIMIR Putin’s alleged long-time gymnast lover has finally reappeared following rumours that she was under “house arrest” at his secret forest palace.
The Olympic Gold-winning rhythmic gymnastics star was spotted overseeing training at her training academy in the Black Sea resort of Sochi after six weeks of absence.
Three videos, released by the academy, show her unsmiling and stern-faced – a stark contrast to her demeanour in past public appearances.
Looking tired, she issued instructions often impatiently to three female students.
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Her reappearance came exactly 40 days on from outlandish reports that Putin had croaked.
Since the rumours of Putin’s death – largely dismissed as conspiracy theories by analysts – broke, Alina had disappeared from view until this week.
Forty days is seen as the mourning period by the Russian Orthodox Church.
In the first new video issued on 7 December, Kabaeva is seen wearing a wedding ring – which is often used as evidence to bolster the claim she married Putin in a secret ceremony years ago.
Kabaeva had been unusually visible mainly at her gymnastics academy – called Heavenly Grace – in the run-up to her disappearance.
One theory is that she absented herself to undergo her latest new round of plastic surgery.
“She has had long absences before for pregnancies and plastic surgery,” said one observer.
Both political analyst Dr Valery Solovey and General SVR Telegram channel (which claims to have have insider knowledge from Putin’s circle) alleged that Kabaeva had been under virtual house arrest in Putin’s forest palace.
The secret luxury palace on the shores of Lake Valdai is heavily guarded by air defence systems ready to repel a Ukrainian attack.
One report alleged that Kabaeva had strongly objected to being holed up in the high security estate, where she is believed to live in a separate wing with her kids.
General SVR claimed she had turned from a “shadow first lady into a prisoner”.
“Alina suddenly began breaking dishes and randomly throwing cutlery, after which she began to cry hysterically,” said the account.
“Security service representatives tried to calm Kabaeva down and urgently called doctors.”
The glamorous 40-year-old then reappeared as it was announced that Putin will run in the 2024 presidential elections in March.
The Russian tyrant is all but certain to be elected for a fifth time, which would see him become the longest serving Russian president.
For over two brutal decades, the despot has ruled over Russia with iron-first and despite rumours of his ailing health – Putin appears determined to cling onto power as his war in Ukraine grinds to a stalemate.
Putin and his alleged gymnast lover were first linked 15 years ago after a report in a Moscow newspaper run by media tycoon and former KGB spy Alexander Lebedev.
The despot was still married to his first wife at the time, Lyudmila Putina, whom he later divorced in 2014.
Kabaeva, who is 31 years younger than Putin, shot to fame as “Russia’s most flexible woman” and went onto become one of Russia’s most decorated gymnasts in history.
Around that time they first met, Alina was asked on a kids TV show whether she had found her “ideal man”.
And without naming the Russian leader, Alina replied giggling: “I have met him” and added that she was “so happy”.
“A man, a very good man, a great man,” she said, adding: “I love him very much.”
Russian state media bans any mention of links between the two and Putin is said to be ferociously private about their relationship.
“I have a private life in which I do not permit interference. It must be respected,” he barked in one interview.
He deplored “those who with their snotty noses and erotic fantasies prowl into others’ lives”
A Moscow source previously told The Sun: “Putin is an intensely private man – he has been hiding his two adult daughters under fake IDs for years.
“Even now, though he talks about them occasionally, he never names them.
“If Alina gave birth to his children, her hiding away might be one of the strongest hints pointing to this.
“He is obsessive about the security of his family.”