August 06, 2022

Sanctioning Romance


Sanctioning Romance
Vladimir Putin and Alina Kabaeva as she received the Order, "For Merit to the Fatherland". Wikimedia Commons, Russian Presidential Press and Information Office. 

On August 2, 2022, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control released an update to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s alleged girlfriend, Alina Kabaeva, is now among the sanctioned few.

Kabaeva, a well-known athletic figure, rose to fame as an Olympic rhythmic gymnast. She also served in the United Russia party as a politician and lawmaker for approximately six years.

President Putin and Kabaeva are rumored to have had romantic relations since the early 2000s, even during the president's prior marriage with Lyudmila Putina. Since 2015, Kabaeva is rumored to have secretly given birth, in Switzerland, to two sons fathered by Putin, which has been consistently denied by the Kremlin.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US Treasury has sanctioned close associates of Vladimir Putin. Now that Kabaeva has been sanctioned on the most recent SDN list update, her economic assets in the US, if any, are frozen, and her chance of conducting business negotiations with Americans is constrained.  

The US is not the first country to sanction Kabaeva. Canada, the European Union, Australia, and the United Kingdom have also placed sanctions against Putin’s alleged partner.

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