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Russian President Vladimir Putin, Wife Call It Quits

After a 30-year marriage, Vladimir Putin announced on state television that he was divorcing his wife, Lyudmila.

Russia Today reports Putin and Lyudmila attended the Esmeralda ballet at the Grand Kremlin Palace, where they broke the news.

According to Russia Today, the country's official English-language news outlet, Putin said it was a "joint decision." RT adds:

"Asked to confirm if that was a divorce, Lyudmila Putina, who was standing by the President's side, told the media 'Yes, you can say that, this is civilized divorce.' ...

"We love our children, we are proud of them and see each other often,' Lyudmila Putina said.

"However, Mrs. Putina said 'they will always be friends.' "

If you've been paying attention, this is not really a surprise. Around the time Putin was inaugurated for the third time as president, talk swirled about Putina's whereabouts.

The Daily Beast ran a detailed piece in which they recount a time when Putin chose to hang out with the French actor Gerard Depardieu, instead of being with his wife for her birthday.

"This is the striking thing about Putin," Geraldine Fagan, the author of Believing in Russia, told The Daily Beast. "For some reason, he prefers to spend Christmas in some small provincial church and not to be around his wife on her birthday."

The AP reports that Putina was asked why she was so absent from the public eye while her husband was president.

"I don't like publicity and flying is difficult for me," she said, according to the AP.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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