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Vladimir Putin works so much it is difficult for him to have a personal life
Dmitry Peskov has been forced to deal with rumours Mr Putin wed Alina Kabayeva, a 30-year-old politician and former Olympic gymnast, in a church ceremony last week.

"It's his decision and he's not obliged to talk about his personal life," Mr Peskov told Izvestia. "He works so much I don't know where he finds time for it."

Rumours that he had remarried were started by a Twitter user who claimed last week that the Federal Guards Service had blocked roads around the Iversky monastery in the Valdai Hills because "Putin and Kabayeva are being crowned," a reference to Russian wedding traditions.

It snowballed after being retweeted by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, prompting Mr Peskov to call it "an exercise in boredom."

The rumours, however, have refused to die, prompting Izvestia to ask whether a "healthy man" like Mr Putin should not have a personal life.

"You know, it's perfectly normal question, it has a right to exist. But I will answer it quite simply. We all voted for a president at the elections, so let's pay attention to what kind of president he is. And what kind of man he is, whether he has a wife or not - let's leave that to him."

Vladimir Putin has long been rumoured to be romantically involved with Ms Kabayeva, but the relationship has never been acknowledged publicly.

Reporting on Mr Putin's personal life has been effectively taboo for Russian media since tabloid Moskovsky Korrespondent was closed down after reporting similar marriage rumours about the couple in 2008.

Mr Peskov seemed to acknowledge, however, that nothing the Kremlin can say will put an end to the rumours.

"It is useless to call them nonsense. We've done that a hundred times. But the rumours live, and what can you do about it?"