Putin Arranged Multimillion-Dollar Dowry for Ex-Wife: Report

Russian President Vladimir Putin arranged a multimillion-dollar dowry for his ex-wife's subsequent marriage after the two parted ways, according to a member of the Anti-Corruption Foundation's team.

Maria Pevchikh, head of the investigative unit at the organization founded by jailed Putin critic Alexei Navalny, wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread Monday that the Russian leader had an untraditional role in the marriage between Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, formerly Lyudmila Putina, and Artur Ocheretny.

"In the old times it was common for a bride's parents to arrange a dowry: something valuable, like money, expensive fabrics or jewelry to 'increase the bride's value,'" Pevchikh wrote. "But Putin took a whole new approach. He literally arranged a multi million dollar dowry for his ex wife."

Pevchikh did not specify exactly how much Putin's ex-wife's dowry was worth.

Putin's ongoing and widely condemned war in Ukraine has upped interest in some of the more private details of the longtime Russian leader's private life, including his health and rumored mistress. Now, the Anti-Corruption Foundation is focusing on the relationship between his former spouse and Ocheretny, who they say owns luxury real estate in Europe.

Putin Reportedly Arranged Ex-Wife's Dowry
Russian President Vladimir Putin arranged a multimillion-dollar dowry for his ex-wife's subsequent marriage after the two parted ways, according to a member of the Anti-Corruption Foundation's team. Above, Putin and his ex-wife, Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, formerly Lyudmila Putina, pray during an Orthodox Easter service in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral on April 24, 2011, in Moscow. Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images

Pevchikh explained on Twitter that by the time the Russian leader and Lyudmila Ocheretnaya divorced, their marriage had been a "sham" for more than a decade.

"Lyudmila never was a real First Lady," Pevchikh wrote about Putin's ex-wife. "We barely saw her in public and never heard her speak. She would be used once a year as a living prop at church services."

Therefore, their ultimate divorce "came as no surprise," Pevchikh said. When they announced the split in 2013, it was on a state television broadcast as they attended a ballet production together, The Washington Post reported.

Putin responded to a reporter's question to confirm that rumors of their divorce were correct.

"All my work is related to publicity. But there are people who are absolutely incompatible with this," he said, citing his then-wife as an example.

"We hardly see each other, and we each have our own lives," the Post quoted Ocheretnaya as saying. "I don't like publicity, and flying wears me down."

She added that they would "remain very close" and that she was "grateful" for his continued support.

The Kremlin confirmed that the pair had officially divorced in 2014 after more than 30 years of marriage.

But even after they parted ways, Putin still appeared to have his ex-wife in mind as he considered his own future. At an annual press conference in 2014, when asked whether he would marry again, Putin said that he would first want to see Ocheretnaya married "and only then think about myself," The Moscow Times reported.

This hope came to fruition when his ex-wife remarried in 2015. Ocheretnaya is now 64 years old, and her husband is 44.

A Reuters examination of property records in 2017 found that Ocheretnaya could be tied to a multimillion-dollar property business. A recent Anti-Corruption Foundation investigation also found that her husband came to own a handful of villas and apartments across several countries outside of Russia after the divorce, though Newsweek was not able to independently verify these details.

Newsweek reached out to the Anti-Corruption Foundation for more details, and to the Kremlin for confirmation and comment on the report.