Is President Vladimir Putin one of us?
A new biography has outraged Russians by suggesting that President Vladimir Putin has “homosexual tendencies”.
Political scientist Stanislav Belkovsky has made the claim in his book, subtitled “the whole truth about Putin,” reports Spiegel Online.
In the biography, Belkovsky writes that for the 61-year-old Russian leader, sex and a sex life are “alien” concepts and that he could be “latently gay”.
He states that an alleged affair with former gymnast and Olympic champion Alina Kabaeva were created by Putin’s PR advisors to obscure his true nature and to paint him as “macho and (a) sex bomb”.
A 2007 photo shoot that showed Putin and Prince Albert of Monaco shirtless and posing with fishing rods in their hands is described as a “truly erotic photo session”.
Belkovsky comments however, that “for the lawyers among my readers,” it should be noted that “a cult figure among homosexuals is not automatically a homosexual himself”.
He describes the president as lonely man who avoids people and whose best friends are “the Labrador Conny and the Bulgarian shepherd dog Buffy, his only roommates in the presidential residence”.
Putin’s spokesman has dismissed the claims as “total rubbish”.
Putin married Lyudmila Shkrebneva in 1983 with whom he raised two daughters. Earlier this year, the couple announced that they had ended their marriage but have yet to officially divorce.
The president signed Russia’s reviled gay “propaganda” law in June and has been branded a dictatorial homophobe by LGBT activists around the world.
He has insisted, however, that the law is intended to “protect” children and that he happily works with gay people and that “we have absolutely normal relations”.
A survey of Russian attitudes towards homosexuality has shown a marked hardening in recent years. According to Interfax, 88% of Russians approve of banning the promotion of homosexuality. Forty two percent also believe that homosexuality should be a criminal offense (up from 19% in 2007).