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    Putins in public amid divorce rumours


    by ODN


    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila have made a rare joint public appearance seeking to reaffirm their marriage amid persistent divorce rumours.

    In pictures shown on Russian TV on Sunday, the couple jointly answered questions from a census-taker who visited Putin's residence outside Moscow as part of a nationwide population count.

    The Putins have not been seen together in public much, raising media speculation that they had secretly split and that Vladimir had planned to marry Olympic champion gymnast Alina Kabayeva.

    In the new video and answering questions on his marital status, Putin said firmly that he was married and that the marriage was officially registered.

    Lyudmila looked slightly awkward and seemed nervous, her eyes frequently blinking during this section of the interview.

    When asked her profession and source of income Lyudmila said she was a housewife and Putin added, 'We have one source of income".

    The 58-year-old, who stepped down as president in 2008 has been married to Lyudmila, a former flight hostess, since 1983. They have two daughters.

    Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters the divorce rumours were "nonsense" and the fact the couple was appearing only rarely in public was due to Putin's "immense workload".

    Last month the Orthodox Church denied rumours circulating in the Internet that Lyudmila had become a nun and was appointed by the Patriarch an abbess in one of its monasteries.