HomeNewsPutin protects Alina Kabaeva

Putin protects Alina Kabaeva

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The Russian president has ordered all information about the former gymnast to be classified in order to shield her from the Western press

While the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to wreak havoc among the civilian population and the world is watching one man, Vladimir Putin, the Russian gymnast who was Olympic gold medalist has been placed in the international spotlight, and not only because of her links with the Russian president. Her meteoric rise in the Russian business network, her millionaire income and wealth accumulated in recent years are being analyzed in detail by the intelligence services of half the world. Alina Kabaeva has been included in the EU sanctions, and in the United States she is seen as the guardian of the fortune hidden by the Russian president around the planet, and the fact is that Putin’s gymnast lover has a brilliant history in which there is no lack of shadows.

In this scenario and amid rumors pointing to a possible pregnancy of the former gymnast, President Vladimir Putin has taken a forceful decision on everything concerning Kabaeva while she is kept hidden and safe outside Russia: all information about the holding National Media Group, which was headed by Putin’s Olympic mistress Alina Kabaeva, has disappeared from open databases.

The registry was cleared after the imposition of sanctions against Kabaeva. Authorities rushed to remove the financial statements of many Russian Internet companies. It is reported that the financial documents of all companies were removed from the All-Russian Accounting Register (GIR BO). Until now, audit data of the media holding company “National Media Group”, owner of the First Channel, REN TV, MIC “Izvestia” and other media could be found.

The 2020 report showed that more than 1.7 billion rubles (about $30 million) were spent on salaries of NMG management. At the same time, the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers reported on the media group’s refusal to disclose exact figures, such as the income of board chairwoman Alina Kabaeva and chairman Kirill Kovalchuk. The holding company page of the Russian State Broadcasting and Television Company also disappeared from the Federal Tax Service register, although the state-owned company boasted of its financial success: 1.5 billion rubles in profits, according to SPARK.
Until now, data on the salary of the former gymnast, considered the unofficial wife of President Putin, had been leaked to the media. As a senior manager, Alina earned around 1 million rubles per day (about 16,000 euros per day). As reported by the media in 2018, her salary hovered around $10 million per year. Now the data in this structure are fully classified by Putin’s direct order.

Explanatory notes to public financial statements used to reveal links between companies. For example, in the documents of the largest supplier of food for the army (Main Line), it was reported that it received loans from the companies of Kremlin chief Yevgeny Prigozhin. All those documents have now been deleted.

The total cleaning of documents follows the March 18 decision of the RF Government on the peculiarities of public access to business information. Prime Minister Mishustin allowed companies not to disclose their financial position.

The rise of Kabaeva

Kabaeva’s rise is as meteoric as it is suspicious. In October 2004, Alina announced her retirement from the sport after being splashed by a doping scandal.

It wasn’t long before she made the leap into politics, becoming a deputy for the ruling United Russia party, where she spent six years in the Duma. But she caused more surprise when she announced in 2014 that she was stepping down to head the board of the National Media Group (NMG). To make room for him at the top, they displaced Kirill Kovalchuk, none other than the nephew of Yuri Kovalchuk, the man behind NMG, the main shareholder of Rossiya Bank and one of Putin’s closest advisors.

At the time, the holding company owned 25% of Channel One, Russia’s main state-controlled television channel, and also has stakes in other channels and newspapers, including a majority share of the influential daily Izvestia. It has since expanded and currently owns a share of VK, the country’s largest social networking company.

When Kabaeva’s appointment was confirmed, no details were given about the qualifications that made her suitable for the position. True, she was previously a TV show host, but she was not known to have experience in media management. But at the time, rumors of a link to Putin, who had announced their divorce the previous year, were already rampant.

According to media reports in 2018, his salary was around $10 million per year. But that imposing sum does not take into account the juicy business deals going on in the oligarchs’ inner circle and the favors that go hand in hand. Documents reported by the Anti-Corruption Foundation (led by opposition Alexei Navalny) indicate that he has received several properties in Moscow and St. Petersburg, several times through his family, from powerful businessmen close to the president. Also, they claim that he travels on the same planes as Putin’s friends.

Specifically, since 2013, Kabaeva and her family have acquired at least six apartments, two houses and land in the most exclusive regions of Russia, including a 700-square-meter property in St. Petersburg and luxury apartments in one of the most exclusive streets of Moscow, according to an investigation by Open Media.

According to this report, as many as 6 apartments, two houses and 70 acres of land in four regions were given to Kabaeva and her relatives.

In 2018, Alina Kabaeva first registered property in Rublyovo-Uspenskoye, one of the most elite areas outside Moscow. Until that time, all real estate owned by the family of the chairwoman of the board of directors of National Media Group was registered mainly in the name of her relatives.

In 2021, Navalni’s outlawed Anti-Corruption Foundation published an investigative documentary on Putin’s fortune, Putin’s Palace: history of the biggest bribe. It cited Kabaeva in Chapter 7, Women, as one of the people instrumental in financing the secret palace.

The U.S. Treasury Department believes that Kabaeva manages a vastly larger fortune owned by Putin in interests spread around the world. Hence, the Kremlin has rushed to classify any documentation on the controversial former Olympic gymnast.

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