Vladimir Putin stars in tale of Kremlin romance
By Guy Faulconbridge
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A young KGB spy falls in love with an air hostess called Lyudmila and then conquers the Kremlin.
Sounds familiar? The plot of Russia's latest film bears a remarkable resemblance to the life of President Vladimir Putin.
The film, "Kiss Me Off The Record," breaks a taboo which has kept Putin's love life firmly under wraps.
The official release is set for Valentine's Day, two weeks before Russians vote for a successor to Putin, who is stepping down after eight years in office. Backers hope to outdo recent Hollywood hit "Pirates of the Caribbean" in Russian DVD sales.
Producer Anatoly Voropayev, a former deputy regional governor, told a news conference no one consulted the Kremlin about the film, which was shot from 2001 to 2003. He denied reports that Putin's wife helped write the film's plot.
"We live and work under a certain first person so when we speak about politics we cannot just ignore that," he said.
Putin has always tried to keep his family out of the limelight and Lyudmila, 50, has sometimes seemed nervous in public. They have two daughters Maria and Katerina but Russian media have never reported on the children.
"Kiss Me Off The Record" features key scenes from Putin's life, including his first meeting with Lyudmila, their 1983 marriage and subsequent move to Dresden, Germany where Putin worked as a KGB spy. Continued...