Russia is holding a gymnastic festival, which many publications say is in the honour of Alina Kabaeva, believed to be President Vladimir Putin’s girlfriend. The festival is being held amid the global criticism Mr Putin is facing for invading Ukraine.
Named “Alina Festival,” it was helmed by the Olympic champion, according to a report on New York Post. The festival took place last month but premiered on pro-Kremlin television channel Russia-1 on Wednesday to mark the International Day for the Protection of Children, it further said.
The video of the event, circulating online, shows hundreds of children and gymnasts performing on stage, with Soviet Union’s patriotic songs playing in the background.
The Post said in its report that the festival featured a military choir belting out World War II-era songs.
According to a Newsweek report, Kabaeva is also seen in the video against a backdrop of black and orange striped Z, the letter that has become a symbol of support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
She is further seen praising the Russian military and appearing to link the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II to the current events in Ukraine, Newsweek said.
Mr Putin, 69, has never acknowledged a relationship with Ms Kabaeva but American officials believe the 38-year-old to be the mother of at least three of his children.
Known as “Russia’s most flexible woman”, Kabaeva spent six years as a Member of Parliament representing Mr Putin’s United Russia Party.
She has been serving as the chairperson of the board of directors at National Media Group, a major pro-Kremlin media group, for more than seven years. According to The Daily Mail, she has been receiving a salary of almost £8 million a year.
Kabaeva was last seen in public in December at the same arena for another event. According to a petition launched on change.org, Ms Kabaeva had been hunkered down with her children in a luxury villa in Switzerland.