Meet the hidden women in Vladimir Putin's life.

For those of us who exist far from the clutches of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime, little is known about the man who generates as much disdain and controversy as his US affiliate – if not more.

While we know so little about the private life of one of our world’s most powerful leaders, so much less is known about the women in his orbit. While Trump’s wife and daughters appear by his side publicly at almost every chance, Putin prefers to stand solo in the public eye.

So who are these women, and why are they kept hidden?

His ex-wife

All the way back in 1983, 25-year-old Lyudmila Putina would marry the man who would soon become the President of Russia.

The couple had met through a mutual friend back in 1980, after Lyudmila, – a then-flight attendant – had come to Leningrad for a few days with a friend .

Interestingly, as Putin’s power and fame grew, Lyudmila maintained a low profile on the Russian political stage. She only stepped out publicly with her husband when she absolutely had to, and the only times she opened her mouth, generally, was to support him.

No family portrait has ever been issued of the family, which goes a long way to explain how much Lyudmila hid from the spotlight.

Lyudmila Ocheretnaya and Vladimir Putin. Image: Getty.

In 2013, the couple announced their separation, with their divorce finalised in 2014.

Russian news website Sobesednik last year revealed Lyudmila was in a new relationship with a much younger man and had changed her name.

Now known as Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, her new husband has since been identified as not-for-profit director Artur Ocheretny, 39.

His daughters

Putin has two daughters: Mariya, 31, and Yekaterina (Katerina), 30, who, like their mother, aren't big on the limelight. (Or whose father shields them from the spotlight.)

Putin himself has rarely spoken about his two children publicly, and up until recently, news outlets struggled to identify what his daughters actually looked like, what they did for work and who they were married to. It's almost impossible to get your hands on images of the two online.

After an investigation by Reuters, a few details about his two daughters emerged.

For one, it's believed Katerina is married to Kirill Shamalov, the son of a close friend of the President. The couple is thought to hold an estimated $2.83 billion worth of shares in petrochemical company called Sibur Holdings. In addition to her astounding wealth, Katerina also holds a senior position at Moscow State University in the Mechanics and Mathematics facility, publishing scientific papers and authoring chapters in books.


Even less is known about Maria, apart from the fact she is thought to be married to a Dutch Businessman and going by the name Maria Faassen.

One of the few times Putin has spoken of his daughters was in 2015 at his annual news conference.

“They studied only at Russian universities. I am proud of them. They continue to study and work. My daughters speak three European languages fluently,” he said in a rare insight. “One of them can even speak one or two Oriental languages. They are making their first steps and are successful.”

The President then revealed that’s all he would be saying about them.

“I never discuss questions related to my family,” he said.

“They are not involved in business or politics. They are not pushing for this.”

His reported girlfriend

Alina Kabaeva and Vladimir Putin in 2001. Image: Getty.

The strongest rumour about the women in Putin's circle is the one about his rumoured girlfriend. Since 2008 - and throughout the last few years of his marriage - it was rumoured that Putin was in a relationship with former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva.

In 2008, a Russian tabloid newspaper was closed down after it ran a story on the rumoured relationship. Putin has never publicly acknowledged a relationship with 33-year-old Kabaeva, despite rumours they have had children together and Kabaeva appearing in public in February this year with a wedding ring on.

When probed on the ring, and rumours she had mothered a Putin's child in 2015, Kabaeva responded: "Everyone should have their own little secrets, I do too. I am happy that I am surrounded by love. But also I cannot be too pleased not to frighten away my happiness."

Feulling speculation, Kabaeva is a former MP in Putin’s United Russia party, and now heads a giant pro-Kremlin media company.

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