Russian President Vladimir Putin
Who Are Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Daughters? Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin's lover’s name and picture have been removed from the website of the media empire she controls.

Alina Kabaeva is a 38-year-old and well known member of the board of the National Media Group (NMG), however her photo and profile suddenly disappeared from the website – fearing Western sanctions. It comes as sanctions were also slapped against Putin's daughters.

Meanwhile, jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny demanded Western action against the Kremlin's powerful "propaganda media." He pointed out Kabaeva's TV and newspaper group arguing that it was likely owned by Putin personally. Her salary has been estimated at almost £8 million ($10 million) a year. Kabaeva had been the chairman of the board since 2014, despite having no previous experience in media or business.

Navalny issued a statement from prison. "I would like to remind you that the National Media Group, which owns the lion’s share of this apparatus of lies, is undoubtedly owned by Putin personally and as such is even formally headed by Putin’s mistress Alina Kabaeva," he said.

"The most decisive measures must be taken to make the work of these Goebbels' heirs more difficult, from a complete ban on the supply and maintenance of equipment, to the search for their assets in the West and visa 'black lists'," Navalny added. The privately-owned pro-Kremlin media is seen to have a significant role in helping Putin and Russia in the war.

"Propagandists create a public opinion that no longer simply allows Putin to commit war crimes, but requires them from him," said Navalny. "Warmongers should be treated like war criminals."

Kabaeva has been quiet in the middle of the Russia and Ukraine war. She previously appeared to ignore the war when she was caught in a video in December dancing in Moscow. However, her media company has been loud and vocal in throwing their support behind Putin. Still, there was no explanation from NMG as to why Kabaeva's name and picture were removed from the site. She originally posed in the picture in a business jacket, together with the rest of the directors' section, leaving a blank page.

NMG is a share owner of a range of major Russian outlets including REN TV, Channel 1, STS TV, 5th Channel, Izvestia and Sport Express, which are also subsidized by the state.

There has been speculation that Kabaeva and her supposed secret family with Putin have been living and hiding either in Switzerland or in one of several high-grade bunkers in the Urals, Arctic or Siberia. The two first were linked romantically in 2008 when Kabaeva was a pro-Kremlin MP, but the newspaper printing the story was quickly closed down. A petition demanding Kabaeva be thrown out by the Swiss authorities has garnered 75,000 signatures. Putin officially announced his divorce from wife Lyudmila Aleksandrovna Ocheretnaya, a former Aeroflot stewardess, in 2013.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on aviation via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on March 31, 2022. Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

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