Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday said Russian President Vladimir Putin told her a story about his parents that, at the time, had been unknown, even to the CIA.
Speaking at a wide-ranging interview at the FT Weekend Festival, Clinton said Putin shared with her how his father, Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin, rescued his mother, Maria Ivanovna Putina, from a pile of bodies during a war and nursed her back to health prior to his birth.
“He said, ‘You know, my father was on the frontlines during the siege [of Leningrad]. And he would have to be there for three days. There was no food. There were rats everywhere. He was trudging back to the apartment where he lived with my mother and as he’s walking down the street, there’s a huge pile of bodies. As my father was walking by the pile of bodies, he looks down and he sees my mother’s foot. He ran over and he was pulling what he thought to be the body of his wife,'” Clinton shared in the interview.
“So his father took the woman’s body and she wasn’t dead. He took her back to the apartment and nursed her back to health. And then after the war, Putin was born,” she continued.
Clinton later said she shared Putin’s story with her team and found out that no one, not even the CIA and U.S. Ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul, knew about the incident between the Russian leader’s parents.
“After it was over, I got my team and told my team. We had people from the CIA with us. We had the whole entourage. I told them the story and no one has ever heard it before,” she said.
(…) That being said, the tale Clinton included in her memoir is different from the story Putin told in his 2000 autobiography, “First Person: An Astonishingly Frank Self-Portrait by Russia’s President.” In it, Putin said his mother was laid to rest near a pile of bodies after she fainted due to starvation. She later “woke up in time.” He also noted that his father was at war the whole time and had no chance to look for his mother. In another anecdote, Putin said it was his mother who later found his father in a hospital. (Read more: IB Times, 5/22/2023) (Archive)