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Lyudmila Putina: the great wife of an intelligence officer

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Lyudmila PutinaWhat do we know about the wife of the second President of Russia? It is practically nothing apart from ceremonial events. Lyudmila is simple in communication and she is accessible. Apparently, she is not ambitious externally. She has a great interest in tennis and mountain skiing, and loves the theatre. She lives an active life, prefers to travel a lot and take part in cultural and educational activities. Among her obvious shortcomings there is her indifference in the choice of clothes and jewellery. This is, of course, meagre information, especially considering the fact that many above mentioned things are included in mandatory programs of the first lady. However, it is not necessary to get surprised.

We will not forget that Lyudmila married an intelligence officer who subsequently worked up-front and should by definition become a model of perfection. By the way, once a flight attendant, she always differed by the fact that she easily got frustrated with a familiar place and pleasantly hastened to discover new cities and countries. A prolonged stay with her husband in Germany probably did not weigh down on Lyudmila, who had sufficient communication and she studied the German language by herself.

Many years later, she told her German girlfriend Iren Pich that her husband was appointed as the FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation) director. This made Lyudmila worry because she would have to abstain from her contacts with foreigners in order to avoid false rumours. The situation is obligatory. She even felt more terrible since the news of her husband's intention to become president. It was a shock for her. Generally, Lyudmila perceived all the career achievements of her spouse through the prism of her own discomfort. Such discomfort included certain and quite natural limitations in communication, and changes in the family life, which her husband would give much less time and attention.

Responsibilities of the first lady, however, turned out to be very pleasant and to her liking. Charity became Lyudmila Putina's main occupation. This indispensable attribute of the wives of heads of states suited her appearance, character and temperament. Having a disposition to foreign languages, she did not forget her native Russian language. And it is at its support and development both at home and abroad that she decided fully to concentrate. She began to supervise the "Center for the Development of Russian language". She actively participated in various activities designed to bring together students from different countries. For example, together with the wife of the German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, she organized the forum "Together in the ХХI century", and with her French colleague she organised the "Crossroads for youths".

A person gets used to everything. Lyudmila Putina over eight years of her husband's presidency mastered all her status. One cannot but agree that positive moments were far more. She had numerous trips, and her interest in traveling she would probably never lose; communicating with interesting people, the right to work with public funds and represent the country. Even not just to represent but to promote Russia, its culture, achievements and experience.

However, in the first place, according to Lyudmila, she cares how not to damage the President's activities. Perhaps this is the most difficult if to remember that her husband is the President of the country where people are always angry at powerful and wealthy ones and "always search for a speck in another man's eyes without noticing a log in their own eye" (an old Russin proverb). Therefore, caution in statements, behaviour, and even appearance and gestures must always be in the first place.

Nevertheless, the wife of an intelligence officer is not accustomed to this. Lyudmila Putina is often criticized for lack of taste. This seems not to be the most terrible problem if you do not project that the first lady performs public relations functions: all Russian women are judged by her clothes and ornaments. It is still memorable the unpleasant situation during the visit of the presidential couple to Great Britain. Then, Lyudmila's hat appeared larger than the royal headdress of Elizabeth II. However, evil tongues alleged that Putin did not look perfect either because of his large bow tie.

Anyway, Russia has a new president and accordingly, a new first lady. Does it mean that Lyudmila Putina's life will become less social but more traditionally family? It is mostly unlikely. Her spouse remains in high politics and will be busy as usual. It means, everything will remain as before.

Aleksei Chernov 

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