The end of the marriage between Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin highlighted another more successful, much happier marriage: that between Russian society and social media.
The Twittersphere blossomed with humorous takedowns of the Russian president’s personal life.
Some favorites, Via RFE/RL:
Let’s take this opportunity to look back on the end of various power couples throughout Russian history, in reverse chronological order:
– Vladimir and Lyudmila
While the official divorce announcement after 30 years of marriage came in 2013, rumours swirled in 2011 that Lyudmila had been committed to an insane asylum (more likely a rehab facility), and stories of Putin’s relationship with gymnast Alina Kabayeva date to 2000, when the bronze-medal winner returned to Russia after participating in the Sydney Olympics.
– Mikhail and Raisa
The Soviet Union’s most famous First Lady, Raisa Gorbacheva had a marriage that did not end in tragedy, outlasting the dissolution of the USSR. As the Daily Mail writes,
Raisa came along in 1985 to change the dour image of Russian women with her broad-cheeked beauty, poise and charisma, the wives of Soviet leaders had been traditionally built for, er, durability rather than delight. Raisa was no lightweight, however. She was a university professor with a sharp business sense who bestrode the world stage so confidently that she became known as the Jackie Kennedy of the Kremlin.
– Alexandra Romanova and Grigory Rasputin
The Tsarina’s rumored affair with the mad monk is portrayed in the film Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, and this mystical power couple met a tragic end: multiple attempts were made on Rasputin’s life and he only died after being poisoned (cyanide), shot four times, beaten, and finally drowned.
– Ivan the Terrible and Söyembikä
This power couple was not a couple at all; legend has it that the Söyembikä Tower on Kazan’s Baumann Street was built by Ivan the Terrible on request by the Tatar princess. She told him that she would only marry him if he built her a seven-tier tower. Once the tower was built, Söyembikä climbed to the top and jumped to her death, choosing suicide over a forced marriage to the Tsar.