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WSJ: The U.S. withholding sanctions against Putin's mistress for fear of backlash

U.S. officials have prepared a package of sanctions against Alina Kabaeva – former Olympic champion, Putin's alleged girlfriend, and head of the National Media Group – but hesitate to put them in place, writes The Wall Street Journal referring to multiple sources.

According to WSJ, American officials are concerned that Putin may take sanctions against Kabaeva personally. A representative of the Department of the Treasury assumes that the Russian president may respond to such sanctions aggressively, further escalating the tensions between Russia and the U.S.

Kabaeva is rumored to have had three children with Putin, but there is no official confirmation. The WSJ sources assert that she had her firstborn in 2015 in Switzerland and gave birth to a set of twins in 2019 in Moscow.

On April 6, Alina Kabaeva's page was removed from the website of the National Media Group, Russia's largest media holding with a stake in Channel One, Ren TV, and other major media outlets. Kabaeva presided over its board of directors. Her “disappearance” could have been caused by Navalny's team investigator Georgy Alburov’s Tweets. He points out that Kabaeva, despite being one of Putin's closest associates, is yet to be included in any sanctions lists.

Alina Kabaeva's yearly income is estimated to be hundreds of millions of rubles. One of Vladimir Putin’s superyachts, the 140-meter Scheherazade, appears to have been at her disposal (the press has used this name as Kabaeva's moniker since the early 2000s). The Insider listed Kabaeva and Putin's other associates who have so far dodged international sanctions here.

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