Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rumor mill: Is Putin really a Georgian?

On the odd news for docket today, courtesy of the Scotsman newspaper, is the claim of an 82-year old Georgian woman that she is actually Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's mother.

Vera Putina claims that she gave up young Vlad when he was 10 years old, sending him off to live with his grandparents in Russia. His father, she says, was a Russian mechanic already married to another woman.

Putin's official biography is that he was born in St. Petersburg; his father served in the Soviet Navy and his paternal grandfather was once Josef Stalin's personal chef. Putin's parents both died in the 1990's.

Vera Putina says, "I used to be proud of having a son who became president of Russia. Since the war [between Russian and Georgia last summer] I am ashamed."

Putina's claim makes for an interesting story, but one that's hard to believe - if the claim was valid it's hard to imagine that Putin's political opponents wouldn't have used it earlier on in his career, or that Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili wouldn't be making more of it to try to embarrass his rival. Vera Putina has offered to take a DNA test to confirm her claim.
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