Wife tells of Mr Putin, the authoritarian workaholic

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The Independent Online

He comes home to his wife and kids in the suburbs around midnight and doesn't talk about the office - that's life with Vladimir Putin, his wife said in a rare glimpse of the domestic side of the Russian President.

He comes home to his wife and kids in the suburbs around midnight and doesn't talk about the office - that's life with Vladimir Putin, his wife said in a rare glimpse of the domestic side of the Russian President.

In an interview published in three Russian newspapers yesterday, Lyudmila Putin portrays the first family's household as a traditionalist place: he wields the authority; she raises the couple's two daughters with a mix of devotion and distance, and chafes somewhat at a subservient role, but isn't an aggressive feminist.

Mrs Putin complained that her husband works late hours, forgetting that "one needs not only to work, but also to live".

The Putins have two daughters, Katya and Masha. Sometimes he tells the family about some of the day's events, but leaves politics aside. "If you ask a question about some of his work plans, it is useless, of course. Better not bother," said Mrs Putin, 48. Nor does he ask his family for advice. "That has never happened," she said.

Mrs Putin lamented that Russian women are discriminated against, pointing to the fact that there isn't a single woman in the Russian cabinet. "One can say the world consists of men and women, but power belongs only to men," she said.

Asked what she wants her husband to do after his maximum two terms as president, she said: "To be a happy man."

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