Pro-Kremlin Russian state television broadcasts an extravagant gymnastics festival in honor of President Vladimir Putin’s alleged mistress, Alina Kabaeva, as the brutal invasion of Ukraine rages on.
The bizarre ‘Alina Festival’, led by the Olympic champion, took place last month but aired on the Russia-1 channel on Wednesday to mark International Child Protection Day.
A TV ad announcing the over-the-top event showed hundreds of young gymnasts performing gravity-defying routines dressed in sports gear reminiscent of the Soviet era.
The packed patriotic celebration also included an eccentric performance by a group of school children wearing red sashes reminiscent of young pioneers, standing in front of red banners.
Another equally surreal section of the festival featured a full military choir singing a moving rendition of a WWII-era song about a “holy patriotic war” as rhythm gymnasts in glittering red robes frolicked onstage. .
Kabaeva, 39, acted as the MC of the sporting and musical extravaganza, appearing in a $1,700 pink floral wrap dress by Alessandra Rich.
It appears to be the second “Alina Festival” to be held in Moscow in as many months, Newsweek reported.
Kabaeva also made another rare public appearance at the event bearing her name in April, when she praised the Russian armed forces and appeared to draw parallels between the Soviet victory over the Nazis in World War II. and the current war in Ukraine.
Putin and his cronies tried to justify the invasion of the neighboring country on February 24 by claiming that Ukraine was ruled by Nazis – even though President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish and descended from Holocaust victims.
Kabaeva has been romantically involved with Putin since at least 2008. The Kremlin strongman and star gymnast have never confirmed their relationship, although sources familiar with the matter previously told Page Six that the pair share twin daughters. 7 years old and two sons.
In May, Kabaeva was hit by sanctions imposed by the British and Canadian governments targeting members of Putin’s inner circle.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s first lady broke her silence on the Russian invasion – now in its 99th day – in an interview aired on Thursday, saying she had no idea when the conflict was over.
Even granting land to Russia, which would amount to giving up “freedom,” would not stop its advances, Olena Zelenska told ABC News’ “Good Morning America.”
“Even if we were considering territories, the aggressor would not stop there,” she insisted. “He would keep pushing, he would keep launching more and more advances, more and more attacks on our territory.”
On Tuesday, President Biden announced that his administration would send anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and precision rocket systems, among other weapons, to Ukraine.
“We acted quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of weapons and ammunition so that it could fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table,” wrote Biden in a New York Times op-ed.