Russia President Vladimir Putin's divorce goes through

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and his wife Lyudmila speak to journalists on Russian TV, June 2013 The Putins went on TV last year to announce their divorce

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The Kremlin has confirmed that the divorce of Russian President Vladimir Putin from his wife of 30 years, Lyudmila, has been finalised.

The country's best-known couple, who have two daughters in their late 20s, went on TV in June to announce they were breaking up.

Mr Putin, 61, was still officially listed as "married" only last week.

Ranked among the world's most powerful people, he made headlines last month by annexing Ukraine's Crimea region.

Analysis

The Kremlin appears to have managed the official confirmation of Mr Putin's divorce to limit its impact on the Russian public at large. State-owned news agency Itar-Tass broke the story late on Tuesday but thereafter it was largely ignored by the mainstream media. By this evening, none of the main TV channels had been observed to report it.

There was a similar damage limitation operation when the Putins announced they were to separate in June. Appearing in public for the first time in ages, they were asked on news channel Rossia 24 about a ballet they had just seen. Without warning, the conversation switched to their private lives and their plans for a "civilised divorce".

The story got very little play on national TV and was given a positive spin. It was an impressive piece of "reality laundering", said media analyst Andrei Miroshnichenko.

During their appearance before a TV camera last year, Mr Putin said: "It was a joint decision: we hardly see each other, each of us has our own life."

His then spouse, who is known to dislike publicity, said that flying was difficult for her and Mr Putin was "completely drowned in work".

The divorce was "civilised" and the couple would "always remain close", she added.

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed for Russian media on Wednesday that the divorce had been completed.

In 2008, Mr Putin denied rumours that he had secretly divorced and was planning to marry former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva.

Ms Kabayeva was among the final six torchbearers at the opening of Mr Putin's showpiece Sochi Winter Olympics in February, rekindling speculation that she was a favourite of the Russian leader.

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