Vladimir Putin Divorce: Will We See a New Side to Russia's Steely Leader?

The past few decades have been witness to some of the most powerful leaders ever, and among these Vladimir Putin’s name can’t be forgotten. He runs a country which has long caused consternation among a lot of other nations, keeping its conservative ideology intact while relentlessly aiming for global supremacy. Vladimir Putin is a headstrong leader, who has acted so far to keep his private life, private. It has been historically recorded how the Kremlin has sought to keep the personal affairs of its leaders under wraps, both in and outside of marriage.

As a tough, tenacious leader, Putin has had only one dimension to his personality. With only his professional perception in the public eye, his recent declaration that he is divorcing his wife Lyudmila, has taken both the country and the world by surprise. In an interview to a local channel, Rossiya TV, widely seen as the Kremlin mouthpiece, both Putin and his wife proclaimed that they were separating after 30 years of marriage. One couldn’t ideally identify that there were problems between the two to begin with — they were rarely seen together, she never accompanied him on his foreign tours, and his personal life was overtly closeted. Lyudmila could not handle the publicity very well; hence a public notice of the divorce was made.

Putin was in the midst of a process of containing radical Islam in Russia, especially in light of the Boston Marathon bombings which were orchestrated by two brothers who come from the Chechnya, when this personal news made its foray into the public sphere as well. This brought to focus a dual dimension of this political leader. By compartmentalizing his life, the world saw Putin the president, his governance and his policies. Now, he has almost humanized himself. A failure in his relationship brought forward Putin, the husband, the father, and the man himself. Putin is now one of us, and so his steely veneer was swept aside and jokes about the newly single president went viral. After his divorce, Putin infamously joined Match.com and considered a stint on The Bachelor.

We all wonder what popular celebrities are like in their private cocoons. Are they similar to us? Can we empathize with them? The same goes for world leaders. So will the Kremlin now have a different policy towards how much it reveals about Putin?