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Putin ‘forces Russian defence minster’s daughter to divorce husband’


By Chris Jewers

Updated: 11:00 BST, 7 August 2023


The daughter of Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu has been ‘forced’ to split from her ‘anti-war’ partner ‘after pressure from Vladimir Putin.’ Glamorous Ksenia Shoigu, 32, and influencer Alexey Stolyarov, 33 – one of Russia’s most famous fitness instructors – publicly announced their divorce during a television interview.

He triggered fury among pro-war elements with social media hints that he did not back his father-in-law’s brutal war being waged in Ukraine while being regularly filmed in exotic foreign locations. Rumors also swirled that Ksenia (pictured left) had taken a lover. Their announcement reportedly came after representations to the Russian president – who regularly meets Ksenia at military-linked events.

Stolyarov (pictured) – with almost 800,000 Instagram followers – so enraged Wagner chief and warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin that he on multiple times demanded Shoigu’s son-in-law should be mobilized to the frontline and taught to fight. ‘Everyone around the Kremlin knew that Shoigu’s opponents several times brought examples of Stolyarov’s [online posts] into Putin’s office,’ said one account. In February Prigozhin – who has made no secret of his dislike of Sergei Shoigu – demanded that Stolyarov – who avoided the draft – should be trained for war. ‘It is necessary to catch Stolyarov and bring him to me,’ said Progozhin. ‘I will train him for six weeks. I will help him improve by sending him to combat operations.’

Putin had ‘twice asked’ Shoigu to ‘shut [his] son-in-law up,’ according to Telegram channel Narrarivy. ‘The last conversation with Ksenia about a divorce was recently… She agreed to publicly disown Stolyarov.’ The pair had been seen frolicking on a beach and visiting Dubai during the war and appeared in love. He was accused of being ‘unpatriotic.’ Ksenia heads a military museum and park in St Petersburg, and was seen hosting Putin and her father.

Shoigu (pictured with his daughter) – who has come under fire over his handling of the war in Ukraine – recently went on a high-profile four-day trip to North Korea, while also sidelining or firing several top generals believed to be critical of his handling of the war. ‘Over the past month, there has been much talk in Moscow about Shoigu’s strengthening,’ said one source. Some see the move as part of a wider campaign to strengthen the image of Sergei Shoigu amid continuing speculation that Putin’s health is ailing and the embattled defense minister could succeed him.

Ksenia stood next to Stolyarov as she told an interviewer: ‘We have not been a couple for quite a long time. But at the same time we are partners and very close friends…’ She claimed that Milana – their young daughter – ‘is always happy.’ In the same interview, Stolyarov said: ‘We did not make this decision right now, it was already taken a few months ago… For us, the most important thing was that Milana did not feel that we were no longer together.’ Ksenia announced: ‘We are going to see her right now.’ Read the full story:

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