A new biography has caused outrage in Russia, and amusement everywhere else, by claiming Vladimir Putin is gay.
Moscow political scientist Stanislav Belkovsky’s book ‘Putin’ claims a rumored affair between the president and an Olympic gymnast was a ploy by his PR team.
He suggests his propaganda experts put out the rumors to hide his ‘latently gay’ sexual orientation.
The author also says the 61-year-old president prefers animals over humans.
‘Sex and a sex life to him are alien,’ Belkovsky writes, according to Spiegel Online.
A 2007 photo shoot at which Putin’s reputation as a ‘gay icon’ was enough to fuel the fire, as Belkovsky describes it as a ‘truly erotic photo session in which Putin and Prince Albert of Monaco posed topless with their fishing rods in their hands.’
He calls Putin a ‘deeply lonely politician’ who prefers animals to people, and adds that the macho photos of him topless with tigers and bears are not staged.
’Therein lies the real Putin,’ argues Belkovsky. ‘He flees from people and his obligations to nature.
But even he is aware these claims are likely ridiculous.
‘For the lawyers among my readers,’ he notes, ‘a cult figure among homosexuals is not automatically a homosexual himself.’
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has flatly rejected the allegations.
He said: ‘Belkovsky’s remarks are lacking any basis, or as we say it in Russia: They are total rubbish.’