Vladimir Putin: Blogs Buzz Over Russian PM's Ladies Man Image

Vladimir Putin, Russian presidential candidate and ladies man?

ByABC News
August 3, 2011, 7:15 PM

Aug. 4, 2011 -- Rumors surrounding Vladimir Putin's love life have been lighting up the Russian gossip columns yet again recently, after it was announced the prime minister hired a former beauty contestant and lingerie model as his official photographer.

But the Russian blogosphere buzzed with speculation that 25-year-old Lapikova had no real photography experience. "I have asked photography colleagues about her. No one could say anything – no one knew her," wrote blogger Rustam Adagamov.

Putin, who married former Aeroflot flight attendant Lyudmila Shkrebneva in 1983, fiercely denied the allegations. "In what you said there is not one word of truth," Putin has been mum lately on the subject, but told journalists angrily in 2008 during a trip to Sardinia. "I have always reacted negatively to those with their snotty noses and erotic fantasies prowl into others lives."

Indeed Russian MPs voted for further media censorship as a direct reaction to the allegations surrounding Putin's relationship with Kabaeva, and the paper, the Moskovski Korrespondent, which made the initial allegation - was shut down almost immediately afterward.