Newspaper Shut Down After Putin Love Life Allegations

The newspaper which reported that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, was all set to marry a gymnast half his age has been dramatically shut down, in a turn of events that casts an even deeper shadow on Russia's freedom of press.

Earlier this week the Moskovski Korrespondent claimed Putin had secretly divorced his wife and was engaged to 24 year old rhythmic gymnast and former Olympic gold medallist, Alina Kabayeva - a story which apparently had been circulating for some time but up until this week nobody had dared to print.

Putin, clearly embarrassed by the allegations, gave an angry denial to the press during his visit to Sardinia, branding the journalists as 'snotty-nosed' and contriving 'erotic fantasy' against him.

Six hours later the Korrespondent, owned by billionaire Alexander Lebedev (like Putin a former KGB agent) was closed down. Its parent firm blamed costs and conceptual disagreements with the newsroom but insisted in a statement that this has nothing to do with politics and is solely a business decision.

The editors, who quoted an unnamed party planner as revealing the forthcoming wedding in June, were told by Lebedev to back up the story with some facts or issue a public apology. They did the latter.


not shown