Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Russian: BnaA”wp BnaA”wpoanq nYThH, ‘PA: [v+e ‘djimhr v+e’djimhravjl& ???puthn] born 7 October 1952) is the fourth and current President of Russia, incumbent since 7 May 2012. He previously served as the second President from 2000 to 2008, and as Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. During that last stint (2008 to 2012) he was also the Chairman of the United Russia political party.
For sixteen years Putin served as an officer in the KGB, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before he retired to enter politics in his native Saint Petersburg in 1991. He moved to Moscow in 1996 and joined President Boris Yeltsin’s administration where he rose quickly, becoming Acting President on 31 December 1999 when Yeltsin resigned unexpectedly. Putin won the subsequent 2000 presidential election and was re-elected in 2004. Because of constitutionally mandated term limits, Putin was ineligible to run for a third consecutive presidential term in 2008.
Dmitry Medvedev won the 2008 presidential election and appointed Putin as Prime Minister, beginning a period of so-called “tandemocracy”. [l] In September 2011, following a change in the law extending the residential term from four years to Putin announced that he would seek a third, non-consecutive term as President in the 2012 presidential election, an announcement which led to large-scale protests in many Russian cities. He won the election in March 2012 and is serving a six-year term.
Many of Putin’s actions are regarded by the domestic opposition and foreign observers as undemocratic.  The 2011 Democracy Index stated that Russia was in “a long process of regression [that] culminated in a move from a hybrid to an authoritarian regime” in view of Putin’s candidacy and flawed parliamentary elections. 6] Critics such as David Milliband describe him as a dictator, which Putin adamantly denies. Putin’s government has been described as a “mafia state” by several western media and analysts.
During Putin’s first premiership and presidency (1999-2008), real incomes increased by a factor of 2. 5, real wages more than tripled; unemployment and poverty more than halved and the Russians’ self-assessed life satisfaction rose significantly. Putin’s first presidency was marked by high economic growth: the Russian economy grew for eight straight years, seeing GDP increase by 72% in PPP (sixfold in nominal). As Russia’s president, Putin and the Federal Assembly passed into law a flat income tax of 13%, a reduced profits tax, and new land and legal codes.
As Prime Minister, Putin oversaw large scale military and police reform. His energy policy has affirmed Russia’s position as an energy superpower. Putin supported high-tech industries such as the nuclear and defence industries. A rise in foreign investment contributed to a boom in such sectors as the automotive industry. Putin has cultivated a “he- man” and “super hero” image and is a pop cultural icon in Russia with many commercial products named after him.
He is currently ranked as the world’s most powerful man according to Forbes Ancestry, early life and education Putin was born on 7 October 1952, in Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (modern day Saint Petersburg, Russia), to parents Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin (1911-1999) and Maria Ivanovna Putina (n?©e Shelomova; 1911-1998). His mother was a factory worker, ana nls Tatner was a conscript In tne sovlet Navy, wnere ne served In tne submarine fleet in the early 1930s, and later served in the NKVD during World War II.
Two elder brothers were born in the mid-1930s; one died within a few months of irth, while the second succumbed todiphtheria during the siege of Leningrad in World War II. Vladimir Putin’s paternal grandfather, Spiridon Ivanovich Putin (1879- 1965), was employed at Vladimir Lenin’s dachaat Gorki as a cook, and after Lenin’s death in 1924, he continued to work for Lenin’s wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya. He would later cook for Joseph Stalin when the Soviet leader visited one of his dachas in the Moscow region.
Spiridon later was employed at a dacha belonging to the Moscow City Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, at which the young Putin would visit him. The ancestry of Vladimir Putin has been described as a mystery with no records surviving of any ancestors of any people with the surname “Putin” beyond his grandfather Spiridon Ivanovich. His autobiography, Ot Pervogo Litsa(English: In the First Person), which is based on Putin’s interviews, speaks of humble beginnings, including early years in a communal apartment in Leningrad. On 1 September 1960, he started at School No. 93 at Baskov Lane, Just across from his house. By fifth grade he was one of a few in a class of more than 45 pupils who was not yet a member of the Pioneers, largely because of his rowdy behavior. In sixth grade he started taking sport seriously in the form of sambo and then Judo. In his youth, Putin was eager to emulate the intelligence officer characters played on the Soviet screen by actors such as Wacheslav Tikhonov and Georgiy Zhzhonov. Putin graduated from the International Law branch of the Law Department of the Leningrad State University in 1975, writing his final thesis oninternational law.
His PhD thesis was titled “The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations” and it argued that Russian economic success would depend on creating national nergy champions. While at university he became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and remained a member until the party was dissolved in December 1991. Also at the University he met Anatoly Sobchakwho later played an important role in Putin’s career. Anatoly Sobchak was at the time an Assistant Professor and lectured Putin’s class on Business Law (khozyaystvennoye pravo).
Public image (Ratings, polls and assessments) According to public opinion surveys, Putin’s approval rating was 81% in June 2007, and the highest of any leader in the world. In January 2013, his approval rating fell to 2%, the lowest point since 2000 and a ten-point drop over two years. Observers see Putin’s high approval ratings as a consequence of the significant improvements in living standards and Russia’s reassertion of itself on the world scene that occurred during his tenure as President. One analysis attributed Putin’s popularity, in part, to state-owned or state-controlled television.
A 2005 survey showed that three times as many Russians felt the country was “more democratic” under Putin than it was during the Yeltsin or Gorbachev years, and the same proportion thought human rights were better under Putin than Yeltsin. Putin was Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2007. In April 2008, Putin was put on the Time 100 most influential people in the world list. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev credited Putin with having “pulled Russia out of chaos”, but has also criticized Putin for restricting press freedom and for seeking a third term in the presidential elections.
Putin’s press spokesman responaea to tnls crltlclsm Dy saying Goroacnev “was Daslcally responsible for the dissolution of his country”. Criticism of Putin has been widespread especially over the internet in Russia, and it is said that the Russian outh organisations finance a full “network” of pro-government bloggers. In the U. S. embassy cables published by WikiLeaks in late 2010, American diplomats said Putin’s Russia had become “a corrupt, autocratic kleptocracy centred on the leadership of Vladimir Putin, in which officials, oligarchs and organised crime are bound together to create a virtual mafia state. Putin called it “slanderous”. By western commentators and the Russian opposition, Putin has been described as a dictator. Putin biographer Masha Gessen has stated that “Putin is a dictator,” comparing him to Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus. Former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband has described Putin as a “ruthless dictator” whose “days are numbered. ” U. S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Putin “a real threat to the stability and peace of the world. In the fall of 2011, the anti-Putin opposition movement in Russia became more visible, with street protests against allegedly falsified parliamentary elections (in favor of Putin’s party, United Russia) cropping up across major Russian cities. Following Putin’s re-election in March 2012, the movement struggled to redefine its new course of action. Outdoorsiness, singing, painting, songs about him, brands, Putinisms Putin tries to create an outdoor, sporty, tough guy image in the media, demonstrating his physical capabilities and taking part in unusual or dangerous acts, such as extreme sports and interaction with wild animals.
For example, in 2007, the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda published a huge photograph of a bare-chested Putin vacationing in the Siberian mountains under the headline: “Be Like Putin. ” Photoops during his various adventures are part ofa public relations approach that, according to Wired, “deliberately cultivates the macho, take- hargesuperhero image”. Some of the activities have been criticised for involving deception or being completely staged.
Notable examples of Putin’s macho adventures include: flying military Jets, demonstrating his martial art skills, riding horses, rafting, fishing and swimming in a cold Siberian river (doing all that mostly bare-chested), descending in a deepwater submersible, tranquilizing tigers with a tranquiliser gun, tranquilizing polar bears, riding a motorbike, co-piloting a firefighting plane to dump water on a raging fire, shooting darts at whales from crossbow for eco-tracking, driving a race car, scuba diving at an archaeological site, attempting to lead endangered cranes in a motorized hang glider, and catching big fish.
On 11 December 2010, at a concert organized for a children’s charity in Saint Petersburg, Putin sang Blueberry Hill accompanying himself on the piano. The concert was attended by various Hollywood and European stars such as Kevin Costner, Sharon Stone, Alain Delon, and G?©rard Depardieu. At the same event (and others) Putin played a patriotic song from his favourite spy movie “L14hT Meq”, The Shield and the Sword.
Putin’s painting “Y30p Ha 3ahHAeaeaUJeM OKHe” (A Pattern on a Hoarfrost-Encrusted Window), which he had painted during the Christmas Fair on 26 December 2008, became the top lot at the charity auction in Saint Petersburg and sold for 37 million rubles. The creation of the painting coincided with the 2009 Russia-Ukraine gas dispute, which left a number of European states without Russian gas and amid January frosts. There are a large number of songs about Putin. Some 0T tne more popular Include: 11 want] A Man LIKe Putln Dy Slnglng logetnerHoroscope (Putin, Don’t Piss! y Uma2rman WP by a Tajik singer TolibJon Kurbankhanov (Tonn6AXOH Kyp6aHxaH0d) Our Madhouse is Voting for Putin by Working Faculty. Putin’s name and image are widely used in advertisement and product branding. Among the Putin-branded products are Putinka vodka, the PuTinbrand of canned food, the Gorbusha Putina caviar and a collection of T-shirts with his image. Putin also is a subject of Russian Jokes and chastushki, such as the popular “[Before Putin] There Was No Orgasm” featured in the comedy film The Day of Elections.
There is a meta-Joke that, since the coming of Putin to power, all the classic okes about a smart yet rude boy called BoaoqKa(Vovochka, diminutive from Vladimir) have suddenly become political Jokes. Putin features in the colouring book for children Vova and Dima (presented on his 59th birthday), where he and Dmitry Medvedev are drawn as good-behaving little boys, and in the Superputin online comics series, where Putin and Medvedev are portrayed first as superheroes, and then as a trolland an orc in the World of Warcraft.
Vladimir Putin was portrayed by internet personality Nice Peter in his YouTube series Epic Rap Battles of History, in Season 2’s finale episode, “Rasputin vs. Stalin” (aired on 22 April 2013). A Russian movie called A Kiss not for Press was premiered in 2008 on DVD. The movie is said to be based on biography of Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila. Putin has produced a large number of popular aphorisms and catch-phrases, known as putinisms.
Many of them were first made during his annual Q conferences, where Putin answered questions from Journalists and other people in the studio, as well as from Russians throughout the country, who either phoned in or spoke from studios and outdoor sites across Russia. Putin is known for his often tough and sharp language. The xamples of most popular putinisms include: 1. To bump off in a toilet. Made in 1999, when he promised to destroy terrorists wherever they were found, including in toilets. 2. She sank.
Curt and self-evident answer toa question from Larry King in 2000 asking what happened to the Russian submarine K-141 Kursk. 3. Ploughed like a slave on a galley. This is how Putin described his work as President of Russia from 2000 to 2008 during a Q conference in 2008. 4. Ears of a dead ass. According to Putin, that was what Latvia would receive instead of the land claimed by Latvia in a territorial dispute. 5. Jackaling at foreign embassies. Putin implied the Russian “non- systemic opposition”relies mostly on foreign governments. . At the very least, a state leader should have a head. Putin’s response to Hillary Clinton’s claim that Putin has no soul. He recommended that international relations be built without emotion and instead on the basis of the fundamental interests of the states involved. 7. Return my pen. A phrase said by Putin after the oligarch Oleg Deripaska was forced by Putin to sign, using Putin’s pen, an agreement in 2009. 8. Shearing a pig- In 2013, Putin responded to complaints that he was harboring whistleblower Edward
Snowden, likening those complaints to the noises made by this animal when sheared. Personal life (Family) On 28 July 1983 Putin married Kaliningrad-born Lyudmila Shkrebneva, at that time an undergraduate student of the Spanish branch of the Philology Department of the Leningrad State University and a former Aeroflot flight attendant. They lived together in Germany from 1985 to 1990. During this time, according to BND archives, a German spy DeTrlenaea Putlna, wno sala tnat Putln Deat ner ana naa love affairs.
When the couple left Germany in 1990 it was rumoured that Putin left behind an illegitimate child. Putina was rarely seen with President Putin and there were rumours, according to the Daily Mail and other newspapers, that the couple separated. Putin has been linked by newspapers with other women, including gymnast Alina Kabayeva and ex-spy Anna Chapman. These rumours have been denied. Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila, announced on 6 June 2013, that their marriage was over, ending years of speculation about their relationship.
Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no official divorce had been drawn up yet, and he did not know when it would be, but he attached little importance to the formality. Putin and his wife have two daughters, Mariya Putina (born 28 April 1985 in Leningrad, Soviet Union) and Yekaterina Putina (born 31 August 1986 inDresden, East Germany). The daughters grew up in East Germanyand attended the German School in Moscow until his appointment as Prime Minister. After that they studied international economics at the Finance Academy in Moscow, although it was not officially reported due to security reasons. citation needed] According to the Daily Mail, their photographs have never been published by the Russian media, and no family portrait has ever been issued. According to an article in the newspaper De Pers Mariya is married to the Dutchman Jorrit Faassen. Today they live in Voorschoten, Netherlands. Personal wealth and residences Figures released during the legislative election of 2007 put Putin’s wealth at approximately 3. 7 million rubles ($150,000) in bank accounts, a private 77. 4-square- meter (833 sq ft) apartment in Saint Petersburg, 260 shares of Bank Saint Petersburg (with a December 2007 market price $5. 6 per share) and two 1960s-era Volga M21 cars that he inherited from his father and does notregister for on-road use. In 2012 Putin reported an income of 3. million rubles ($113,000). This has led opponents, such as politician Boris Nemtsov, to question how Putin can afford certain possessions, such as his 11 luxury watches worth an estimated $700,000. Putin’s purported 2006 income totalled 2 million rubles (approximately $80,000). According to the data Putin did not make it into the 100 wealthiestDuma candidates of his own United Russia party.
Unconfirmed claims by some Russian opposition politicians and Journalists allege that Putin secretly possesses a large fortune (as much as $70 billion) via successive ownership of stakes in a number of Russian companies. Asked at a press conference on 14 February 2008 whether he was the richest person in Europe, as some newspapers claimed; and if so, to state the source of his wealth, Putin said “This is plain chatter, not worthy discussion, plain bosh. They have picked this in their noses and have smeared this across their pieces of paper. This is how I view this. As President and then Prime-Minister, apart from the Moscow Kremlin and the White House, Putin has used numerous official residences throughout the country. In August 2012 Nemtsov listed 20 villas and palaces, 9 of hich were built during Putin’s 12 years in power. This compares to the President of the United States’ 2 official residences. Some of the residences include: Gorki-9 near Moscow, Bocharov Ruchey in Sochi, Dolgiye Borody inNovgorod Oblast, Novo- Ogaryovo in Moscow Oblast and Riviera in Sochi (the latter two were left for Putin when he was Prime-Minister in 2008-2012, others were used by Dmitry Medvedev at tnat per100).
Yurtnermore, a massive Itallanate-style manslon costlng an allegea 1 billion and dubbed “Putin’s Palace” is under construction near the Black Sea village of Praskoveevka. The mansion, built on government land and sporting 3 helipads, a private road paid for from state funds and guarded by officials wearing uniforms of the official Kremlin guard service, is said to have been built for Putin’s private use. In 2012 Sergei Kolesnikov, a former business associate of Putin’s, told the BBC’s Newsnight programme, that he had been ordered by deputy prime minister, Igor Sechin, to oversee the building of it.
Languages Apart from Russian, Putin speaks fluent German. His family used to speak German at home as well. After becoming President he was reported to be taking English lessons nd could be seen conversing directly with Bush and native speakers of English in informal situations, but he continues to use interpreters for formal talks. Putin spoke English in public for the first time during the state dinner in Buckingham Palace in 2003 saying but a few phrases while delivering his condolences to Queen Elizabeth II on the death of her mother.
He made a full fluent English speech while addressing delegates at the 119th International Olympic Committee Session in Guatemala City on behalf of the successful bid of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. 161] In an interview in 2013, the Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov revealed that he and Putin sometimes conversed in Swedish. Religion Putin’s father was “a model communist, genuinely believing in its ideals while trying to put them into practice in his own life”.
With this dedication he became secretary of the Party cell in his workshop and then after taking night classes Joined the factory’s Party bureau. Though his father was a “militant atheist”, Putin’s mother “was a devoted Orthodox believer”. Though she kept no icons at home, she attended church egularly, despite the government’s persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church at that time. She ensured that Putin was secretly christened as a baby and she regularly took him to services. His father knew of this but turned a blind eye.
According to Putin’s own statements, his religious awakening followed the serious car crash of his wife in 1993, and was deepened by a life-threatening fire that burned down their dacha in August 1996. Right before an official visit to Israel his mother gave him his baptismal cross telling him to get it blessed “l did as she said and then put the cross round my neck. I have never taken it off since. ” When asked whether he believes in God during his interview with Time, he responded saying: “…
There are things I believe, which should not in my position, at least, be shared with the public at large for everybody’s consumption because that would look like self-advertising or a political striptease. ” Putin often is seen on outdoor activities with Dmitry Medvedev, promoting sports and healthy way of life among Russians: they were seen alpine skiing in Krasnaya Polyana playing badminton, cycling and fishing. Putin also started o learn ice skating and playing ice hockey after he promised to do so on a meeting with the Russia men’s national Junior ice hockey team who had won the 2011 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.
Putin also enjoys watching football and supports FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, the main team of his native city Pets Koni (dog) and Buffy (dog) Putin owns a female black Labrador Retriever named Koni, given as a gift in 2000 by General of the Army and Russia’s Minister of Emergency Situations Sergey Shoigu. Konl Is oTten seen at Putln’s sloe ana nas Deen Known to accompany nlm Into staTT eetings and greet world leaders. In fact, when Putin first met Angela Merkel, he brought Koni along knowing full well that Merkel had a fear of dogs, having been bitten by one as a child.
In 2003 Koni gave birth to eight pups which were later given as presents to Russian citizens, politicians and foreign ambassadors. Koni gained additional fame in 2004 when the largest Russian publisher of children’s books published a book entitled Connie’s Stories. In 2008 Koni became the first recipient of a GLONASS-enabled pet collar to highlight the progress of the Russian global navigation satellite system. In 2010 Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov gave Putin a Karakachan dog who was then named Buffy according to a suggestion by a five-year old boy from Moscow, Dima Sokolov.
Recognition In September 2006, France’s president Jacques Chirac awarded Vladimir Putin the Grand-Croix (Grand Cross) of the L?©gion dhonneur, the highest French decoration, to celebrate his contribution to the friendship between the two countries. This decoration is usually awarded to the heads of state considered very close to France. ] In 2007, Putin was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year. On 12 February 2007 Saudi King Abdullah awarded Putin the King Abdul Aziz Award, Saudi Arabia’s top civilian decoration.
On 10 September 2007 1-JAE President Khalifa bin Zayed A1 Nahyan awarded Putin the Order of Zayed, the I-JAE’S top civil decoration. ] In December 2007 Putin was named Person of the Year by Expert magazine, an influential and respected Russian business weekly. On 5 October 2008 the central street of Grozny, the capital of Russia’s Republic of Chechnya, was renamed from the Victory Avenue to the Vladimir Putin Avenue, as ordered by the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. In February 2011 Kyrgyzstan parliament named a peak in Tian Shan mountains Vladimir Putin Peak.
On 15 November 2011 the China International Peace Research Center awarded the Confucius Peace Prize to Putin, citing as reason Putin’s opposition to NATO’s Libya bombing in 2011 while also paying tribute to his decision to go to war in Chechnya in 1999. ] According to the committee,putin’s “Iron hand and toughness revealed in this war impressed the Russians a lot, and he was regarded to be capable of bringing safety and stability to Russia”. In 2011, the University of Belgrade awarded Putin an honorary doctorate