Political scientist Stanislav Belkovsky is rumored to be protected by Russia’s secret security agency. I hope that’s true, because Vladimir Putin, champion of Russia’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, is not going to be pleased by Belkovsky’s newest biography of the Russian president, in which his sex life is front and center.
Stanislav Belkovsky is a widely-read columnist for a popular Russian tabloid. He’s known as an indiscriminate bomb-thrower, with a history of slinging mud on his political enemies for both fun and profit. While he is not generally taken seriously, he has had some success as a paid attack dog. One of the oligarchs he took aim at, Mikhail Khodorovsky, owner of Yukos, ended up being criminally prosecuted.
Belkovsky is also founder and director of the National Strategy Institute, a conservative think tank. He coined the term “Puting” after the Russians President, which is now commonly used to mean renationalizing the country’s oil industry. (I’m finding it difficult to get my mind around the idea Vladimir Putin has his enemies on his right.)
Belkovsky has written several previous books about President Putin, most of them highlighting the wealth Putin is amassing in some very shady ways. (Belkovski claims Putin just built himself a palatial mansion near Sochi, where the Olympic Games will be held in February.) But according to Spiegel Online, Belkovsky’s new book, is all about his private life.
The new biography says the sixty-one year old Putin lives a life without sex. It also claims his much talked about affair with Olympic rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva (left) was an invention of his PR advisors who hoped to portray Putin as “macho and (a) sex bomb” in order to conceal the truth as Belkovsky sees it; for Putin “sex and a sex life are alien” and that he is “latently gay.”
What Belkovsky insists is a glimpse of the real Putin and not a PR invention, are all those photos of Putin posing with animals. He says Putin fears people, and would much rather spend his time with four-legged friends. From the book:
“Therein lies the real Putin. He flees from people and his obligations to nature. Here we have Vladimir’s best friends; the Labrador Conny and the Bulgarian shepherd dog Buffy, his only roommates in the presidential residence.”
Belkovsky makes much of a 2007 photo shoot with Monaco’s Prince Albert, which triggered speculation that Putin is gay, and made him an instant “gay icon”. 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.”
“For the lawyers among my readers, a cult figure among homosexuals is not automatically a homosexual himself.”
A fellow-political scientist summed up Belkovsky this way: “he can be considered to be either a little crazy or a business-minded manipulator whose utterances are always well paid for by someone in advance.”
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Putin unequivocally rejected the book’s allegations, saying:
“Belkovsky’s remarks are lacking any basis, or as we say it in Russia: They are total rubbish.”
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