Did Russian President Vladimir Putin have a facelift because of Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva?

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attend a wreath-laying ceremony to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin walls in central Moscow on Feb 23, 2015. -- PHOTO
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attend a wreath-laying ceremony to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin walls in central Moscow on Feb 23, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, pauses during a news conference in Budapest, Hungary, on Feb 17, 2015. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, pauses during a news conference in Budapest, Hungary, on Feb 17, 2015. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
Russian retired rhytmic gymnast and politican Alina Kabaeva attends a reception at the Bocharov Ruchey state residence in Sochi, Russia on Feb 8, 2014 .  -- PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Russian retired rhytmic gymnast and politican Alina Kabaeva attends a reception at the Bocharov Ruchey state residence in Sochi, Russia on Feb 8, 2014 .  -- PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Russian President Vladimir smiles as he looks at Russian gymnast Alina Kabayeva during a meeting with the Russian Olympic team in Moscow. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Russian President Vladimir smiles as he looks at Russian gymnast Alina Kabayeva during a meeting with the Russian Olympic team in Moscow. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Ms Alina Kabayeva, an Olympic gold medalist in rhythmic gymnastics, is believed to be the reason behind Russian President Vladimir Putin's alleged facelift.

British news website Daily Mail reported on Feb 27 that she is also purportedly the mother of at least one of his children. According to the New York Post, Ms Kabayeva gave birth to a son, Dmitry, in 2009.

In its detailed report, Daily Mail said that although she is rarely seen in public, Ms Kabayeva, 31, is regarded by many Russians as their country's undeclared First Lady.

Daily Mail also reported that in an effort to stay young, Mr Putin, 62, is said to take hot and cold baths after his gym sessions to hone his athletic figure. The article also alleged that he has had Botox in 2010.

The couple first came under the media spotlight in 2008 after a Russian newspaper, the Moskovsky Korrespondent, published a story linking the two of them.

In February 2014, wedding rings on the rumoured couple also renewed speculations of their relationship.

In September 2014, after a stint as an MP in Mr Putin's United Russia Party, Ms Kabayeva stood down and was made chairman of a major pro-Kremlin media group. Daily Mail also reported that at separate times, both parties have expressed love for unknown people.

Mr Putin's divorce from his wife Lyudmila Shkrebneva with whom he has two daughters, was finalised in April 2014. All claims of Mr Putin's relationship with Ms Kabayeva have been dismissed by his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg