Back then, Rice, who was essentially eased out of the pre-nomination process by the White House, told me that she had “had a warm conversation” with Obama, which made her feel better.

“Those older and more seasoned officers—most of them male—thought that she was a bit young and inexperienced.” This led, perhaps, to a self-reinforcing spiral.

Rice can seem spiny because she knows how she’s perceived.

Their fathers’ occupation—plundering the country—is a dangerous one, and tends to make Russia poor and thus not a great place to live for anyone.

And it’s just more convenient to have your wife and kids living near your money, safely stashed in a Western bank. By Russian law, half the wealth accrued in a marriage goes to the wife in a divorce.

Her fears seem to have been realized today when Lyudmila said that one of the reasons for the divorce was that “Vladimir Vladimirovich was always working” and that “we hardly ever see each other.” An odd moment in the announcement came when Putin mentioned his confirmed children, two adult daughters whom we’ve never really seen, though there were reports in 2010 that one of them was marrying the son of a South Korean admiral.

(You’ll notice that this very article is riddled with the words “rumors” and “reports,” which is indicative of how different a role—from our American expectations—the first family plays in Russia.) Putin volunteered that his children “got their education in Russia and live in Russia permanently.” It was a strange statement for the president of a country, unless that country is Russia, where children of the elites tend to live in Europe.

As I recount in my December profile of Rice, she was none too pleased.

But when the election was over, Obama nominated Clinton for secretary of state and appointed James L.

Vladimir Putin, by most accounts, er, rumors, is one of the wealthiest men in the world. A Kremlin pool reporter once told me that Russian oligarchs are not truly oligarchs, “they merely work as oligarchs.” Meaning, they are human offshores for Putin’s wealth.