KEY POINTS

  • The state-owned Russia-1 channel aired "Alina Festival" Wednesday to mark the International Day for the Protection of Children
  • Alina Kabaeva, Russian President Vladimir Putin's rumored mistress, appeared in the event in a $1,700 designer dress
  • The festival was "crammed full of Putin's favorite things, including an overabundance of Soviet nostalgia"

Russian state television aired a gymnastic event honoring President Vladimir Putin's rumored lover Alina Kabaeva this week while the invasion of Ukraine continues.

The "Alina Festival," which took place in Moscow last month, premiered on the state-owned Russia-1 channel Wednesday to mark Russia's observance of International Day for the Protection of Children, the New York Post reported. Meanwhile, Friday marks the 100th day of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Kabaeva, who had just turned 39 on May 12, reportedly acted as her namesake event's master of ceremonies while wearing a $1,700 dress by London-based designer Alessandra Rich.

The festival was "crammed full of Putin's favorite things, including an overabundance of Soviet nostalgia," Russian media analyst Julia Davis said in a statement.

Among the Alina Festival's many performances was a full military choir's rendition of a World War II-era song about a "holy patriotic war," per the Post.

Russia refers to its fight against Nazi Germany during the international conflict as the “Great Patriotic War.”

A television advertisement for the Alina Festival also reportedly showed hundreds of young gymnasts performing "gravity-defying routines" while they were dressed in athletic gear that harked back to the time of the Soviet Union.

Last month's festival appeared to be the second such event held in Moscow this year.

Kabaeva's presence at the previous event, which took place at the Russian capital's VTB Arena in late April, was her first public appearance since the invasion of Ukraine started on Feb. 24.

The former Olympic gymnast was rumored to have hidden in a luxury chalet near the French border in Switzerland with the kids she allegedly shares with Putin.

All four children, two young boys and twin girls, were allegedly born in Switzerland and have Swiss passports.

Putin was still married to his first wife, former flight attendant Lyudmila Shkrebneva, when he first met Kabaeva.

The Uzbekistan-born gymnast was at the height of her athletic fame at the time, following her bronze and gold medal wins at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2004 Games in Athens, respectively.

Following her recruitment, Kabaeva ran under Putin's United Russia party before she was suspected of being Russia's rumored "secret first lady" in 2008.

She was then appointed to run the state-owned National Media Group in 2014 with a reported annual salary of $10 million.

Kabaeva, who rarely made a public appearance in recent years, recently became the target of western sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Alina Kabaeva
Russian President Vladimir pictured with his alleged girlfriend, former gymnast Alina Kabaeva, at a Russian Olympic team meeting in Moscow, November 4, 2004. Reuters
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