In honor of Vladimir Putin's 60th birthday on Sunday, Moscow-based Levada Center released a statement yesterday that said 20% of Russian women would marry Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a recent poll.
Two thirds of women asked said they wouldn't marry him, with 43% of women were definitely opposed. 14% said they would probably like to wed him.
The news may come as a blow for Putin. To some extent, the Russian president's power has been built on a macho, hyper-sexualized vision of male power. He's one of the few world leaders to be regularly photographed with his top off for example, and the build up to the recent Russian election was full of weird sexual advertisements and memes — take a look at "Putin's Army", the advertisement that equated voting for Putin to losing your virginity, and the creepy video where someone touched 1,000 pairs of breasts "for Putin" to get an idea of what we're talking about.
However, rumors about Putin's personal life suggest he wouldn't be the greatest husband. His wife of 29 years, Lyudmila Putina, is rarely seen in public anymore — the wilder rumors suggest she may even be in a mental hospital. Putina, according to the rumors, was unhappy with her husband's philandering — he's been linked with former gymnast Alina Kabaeva, his personal photographer Yana Lapikova, and even notorious Kremlin spy Anne Chapman. Even files from Putin's time as a KGB spy in East Germany note he was a "philanderer and a wife-beater".
True or not, that's a tough reputation to shake — and it's actually somewhat remarkable 20% of Russians would marry him despite it.
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