A petition calling on Switzerland to deport a Russian woman rumoured to be Vladimir Putin’s lover has received more than 61,000 signatures.
The campaign to expel Alina Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast and politician, was started by Russian, Belarussian and Ukrainian nationals after Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Written in English, French and German, the petition, which was posted on the change.org website, describes the 38-year-old as the “favourite wife of a delusional dictator”. Comparing the Russian leader to Adolf Hitler, it then urges Switzerland to see that “Eva Braun” be “returned to her Führer”.
Its writers accuse Switzerland of “continuing to host her and her family, whilst Putin is destroying the lives of millions”.
Last month, Switzerland said it would join other countries in imposing sanctions against Russia.
Speaking after the decision, Jacques Pitteloud, the country’s ambassador in the US, said Switzerland remained a “neutral” country.
“We’re still neutral. At the same time, we’re putting additional emphasis on something else that is very important to small countries like Switzerland – the respect of international law,” he said. “International law may not be that important for big countries, but for small countries, it is a matter of survival.”
Ms Kabaeva has been romantically linked to Mr Putin since 2008, when Moskovsky Korrespondent reported that the pair were engaged. The paper closed down a short time later.
In 2015, a Swiss newspaper claimed she had given birth to his child in Lugano, Switzerland. However, the Kremlin denied Mr Putin was the father of the child.
After her sports career, the Olympic gold medallist turned to politics, becoming the Duma’s deputy speaker between 2007 and 2014. She later became chair of the Kremlin-linked National Media Group.
Mr Putin, who was previously married for three decades to Lyudmila Skrebneva, is famously reticent about his personal life.