According to the newspaper, unnamed officials claimed that the 2016 investigation into Russia’s interference in U.S. Presidential elections revealed that Kabaeva had been a beneficiary of Putin's influence as well as his personal wealth. According to the Journal, Kabaeva was suspected by the U.S. government of hiding some of the wealth abroad. American officials believe that she is the mother of at most three of Putin’s children.
However, possible sanctions against Kabaeva were ultimately halted because it was considered "too personal a blow for Mr. Putin that could further escalate tensions between Russia, the U.S." the Journal stated.
There have been rumors for many years about Kabaeva’s relationship with the Russian leader. Russian tabloids call her the "Russia's First Mistress" or even the "Secret First Lady."
Moskovsky Korrespondent, a Russian newspaper, reported in 2008 that Putin was considering splitting with Lyudmila to be with Kabaeva. Two days later, the paper was closed. Five years later, Putin declared that he and Lyudmila had split.
Kabaeva started her international rhythmic gymnastics career back in 1996. She was one of the most decorated and successful athletes in the sport. In 2007, she retired and was immediately appointed to a number of high-profile positions within the Russian government as well as state-aligned companies.
She was the deputy of the ruling United Russia party in the State Duma. This is Russia's parliament. She was elected chair of the National Media Group's board of directors in 2014. This group has large stakes, including channels like Channel One TV or Life News.
Kabaeva was last seen in public in December 2021. This was months before Putin ordered invasion of Ukraine. Last week, she was able to make a rare appearance at a Moscow junior gymnastics festival, which is a patriotic event and also remembered the Soviet Union's defeat of the Nazis during the Second World War.
Russia's fashion magazines noticed that she was wearing an engagement ring on her finger. Kabaeva spoke out at the event as she stood in front of a wall with "Z" symbols, state propaganda meant to show support for Russia’s invasion Ukraine.
"Poor is a nation that doesn't remember its history -- but, we do. Local news outlets quoted her saying that we remember and are proud about the achievements of our multinational people.
Just days after Russia attacked Ukraine, Kabaeva condemned international sports organizations for banning Russian-speaking athletes. This was in keeping with Kremlin talk points that justified the invasion of Ukraine as a "liberation" from Nazis.
Kabaeva, a state-run news agency TASS, stated that "they were not concerned" and would not exclude any country from competitions that had participated in the extermination hundreds of thousands civilians in Yugoslavia. Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Libya. "But sports officials were very upset when Russia decided that it would protect the Donbass and Luhansk against the Nazis."
The White House issued sanctions in April against Putin's two adult daughters Katerina Tikhonova (from his marriage to Lyudmila) Russian opposition leaders then asked the U.S. for an extension of those sanctions to Kabaeva.
Georgy Alburov was an ally to jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. She posted the findings of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation on links between the former gymnast, and Putin earlier this month and demanded that Kabaeva be sanctioned immediately.
She is the victim of Putin's corruption. Her relatives receive apartments and houses purchased with money stolen from Russians. He said that she is part of Putin's inner circle and a member his family who takes advantage his position." In , he sent a tweet.
Alburov responded to The Wall Street Journal's report by saying: "Kabayeva should immediately be placed under sanctions. If, after the crimes committed in Ukraine, the foreign governments are still afraid of making Putin mad, then he has every right to keep wallowing in blood and pouring rivers all over the globe.