Who is Vladimir Putin?

Vladimir Putin

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Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин
Vladimir Putin

Incumbent
Assumed office
8 May 2008
President Dmitry Medvedev
Deputy Viktor Zubkov
Igor Shuvalov
Preceded by Viktor Zubkov
In office
8 August 1999 – 7 May 2000
President Boris Yeltsin
Preceded by Sergei Stepashin
Succeeded by Mikhail Kasyanov

In office
7 May 2000 – 7 May 2008
Acting: 31 December 1999 – 7 May 2000
Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov
Viktor Khristenko (Acting)
Mikhail Fradkov
Viktor Zubkov
Preceded by Boris Yeltsin
Succeeded by Dmitry Medvedev

Incumbent
Assumed office
7 May 2008
Preceded by Boris Gryzlov

Born October 7, 1952 (1952-10-07) (age 56)
Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (now Saint Petersburg, Russia)
Political party CPSU (prior 1991)
Non-partisan (since 1991)
United Russia
(Chairman non-member)[1]
Spouse Lyudmila Putina[2]
Children Mariya (1985), Katerina (1986)
Alma mater Leningrad State University, now Saint Petersburg State University
Religion Russian Orthodox
Signature Vladimir Putin's signature

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Russian: Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин?·i Russian pronunciation: [vlɐˈdʲimʲɪr vlɐˈdʲimʲɪrəvʲɪt͡ɕ ˈputʲɪn]; born 7 October 1952 in Leningrad, USSR; now Saint Petersburg, Russia) was the second President of Russia and is the current Prime Minister of Russia as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, succeeding Boris Yeltsin, and then won the 2000 presidential election. In 2004, he was re-elected for a second term lasting until 7 May 2008.

Throughout his presidential terms and into his second term as Prime Minister, Putin has enjoyed high approval ratings amongst the Russian public. During his eight years in office, the economy bounced back from crisis, seeing GDP increase six-fold (72% in PPP),[3][4] poverty cut more than half[5][6][7] and average monthly salaries increase from $80 to $640, or by 150% in real rates.[8][3] At the same time, his conduct in office has been questioned by domestic dissenters, as well as foreign governments and human rights organizations, for his handling of internal conflicts in Chechnya and Dagestan, his record on internal human rights and freedoms, his relations with former Soviet Republics, and his relations with the so-called oligarchs.[citation needed] This was seen by the Kremlin as a series of anti-Russian propaganda attacks orchestrated by western opponents and exiled oligarchs.[9]

Due to constitutionally mandated term limits, Putin was ineligible to run for a third consecutive Presidential term. After the victory of his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, in the 2008 presidential elections, he was then nominated by the latter to be Russia’s Prime Minister; Putin took the post on 8 May 2008.

Early life and KGB career

His mother, Maria Ivanovna, was a factory worker and his father, Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin, was conscripted into the Soviet Navy, where he served in the submarine fleet in the early 1930s.[10] His father subsequently served with the NKVD in a sabotage group during World War II.[11] Two elder brothers were born in the mid-1930s; one died within a few months of birth; the second succumbed to diphtheria during the siege of Leningrad. His paternal grandfather, Spiridon Putin, had been Vladimir Lenin‘s and Joseph Stalin‘s personal cook.[12]

His autobiography, Ot Pervovo Litsa, (English: First Person)[10] is based on Putin’s interviews, speaks of humble beginnings, including early years in a communal apartment. According to Putin, in his youth, he was eager to emulate the intelligence officer characters played on the Soviet screen by actors such as Vyacheslav Tikhonov and Georgiy Zhzhonov.

Putin graduated from the International Law branch of the Law Department of the Leningrad State University in 1975. His final thesis was on an international law theme: Russian: «Принцип наиболее благоприятствуемой нации»[13] (“The principle of most favored nation“).

Thereafter he was recruited to the KGB. At the University he also became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and remained a member until the party was dissolved in December 1991.[14][15]

He worked in the Leningrad and Leningrad region Fifth Directorate of the KGB, which combated political dissent in the Soviet Union. In 1976 he completed the KGB retraining course in Okhta, Leningrad. The available information about his first years at the KGB is somewhat contradictory; according to some sources,[16] he completed the other retraining course at the Dzerzhinsky KGB Higher School in Moscow and then in 1985—the Red Banner Yuri Andropov KGB Institute in Moscow (now the Academy of Foreign Intelligence), whereupon (or earlier) he joined the KGB First Chief Directorate (Foreign intelligence branch).

From 1985 to 1990 the KGB stationed Putin in Dresden, East Germany.[17] Following the collapse of the East German regime, Putin was recalled to the Soviet Union and returned to Leningrad, where in June 1991 he assumed a position with the International Affairs section of Leningrad State University, reporting to Vice-Rector Yuriy Molchanov. In his new position, Putin grew reacquainted with Anatoly Sobchak, then mayor of Leningrad. Sobchak served as an Assistant Professor during Putin’s university years and was one of Putin’s lecturers. Putin formally resigned from the state security services on 20 August 1991, during the KGB-supported abortive putsch against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Early political career

In May 1990, Putin was appointed Mayor Sobchak’s advisor on international affairs. On 28 June 1991, he was appointed head of the Committee for External Relations of the Saint Petersburg Mayor’s Office, with responsibility for promoting international relations and foreign investments. The Committee was also used to register business ventures in Saint Petersburg.[18] Less than one year after taking control of the committee, Putin was investigated by a commission of the city legislative council. Commission deputies Marina Salye and Yury Gladkov concluded that Putin understated prices and issued licenses permitting the export of non-ferrous metals valued at a total of $93 million in exchange for food aid from abroad that never came to the city.[19][20][21][22][23][14] The commission recommended Putin be fired, but there were no immediate consequences. Putin remained head of the Committee for External Relations until 1996. While heading the Committee for External Relations, from 1992 to March 2000 Putin was also on the advisory board of the German real estate holding Saint Petersburg Immobilien und Beteiligungs AG (SPAG) which has been investigated by German prosecutors for money laundering.[24][25][26][27][28][18]

From 1994 to 1997, Putin was appointed to additional positions in the Saint Petersburg political arena. In March 1994 he became first deputy head of the administration of the city of Saint Petersburg. In 1995 (through June 1997) Putin led the Saint Petersburg branch of the pro-government Our Home Is Russia political party.[29][14] During this same period from 1995 through June 1997 he was also the head of the Advisory Board of the JSC Newspaper Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti.[18][29]

In 1996, Anatoly Sobchak lost the Saint Petersburg mayoral election to Vladimir Yakovlev. Putin was called to Moscow and in June 1996 assumed position of a Deputy Chief of the Presidential Property Management Department headed by Pavel Borodin. He occupied this position until March 1997. On 26 March 1997 President Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin deputy chief of Presidential Staff, which he remained until May 1998, and chief of the Main Control Directorate of the Presidential Property Management Department (until June 1998).

On 27 June 1997, at the Saint Petersburg Mining Institute Putin defended his Candidate of Science dissertation in economics titled “The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations”.[30] According to Clifford G Gaddy, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, 16 of the 20 pages that open a key section of Putin’s work were copied either word for word or with minute alterations from a management study, Strategic Planning and Policy, written by US professors William King and David Cleland and translated into Russian by a KGB-related institute in the early 1990s.[31] 6 diagrams and tables were also copied.[32]

On 25 May 1998, Putin was appointed First Deputy Chief of Presidential Staff for regions, replacing Viktoriya Mitina; and, on 15 July, the Head of the Commission for the preparation of agreements on the delimitation of power of regions and the federal center attached to the President, replacing Sergey Shakhray. After Putin’s appointment, the commission completed no such agreements, although during Shakhray’s term as the Head of the Commission there were 46 agreements signed.[33] On 25 July 1998 Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Putin head of the FSB (one of the successor agencies to the KGB), the position Putin occupied until August 1999. He became a permanent member of the Security Council of the Russian Federation on 1 October 1998 and its Secretary on 29 March 1999. In April 1999, FSB Chief Vladimir Putin and Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin held a televised press conference in which they discussed a video that had aired nationwide 17 March on the state-controlled Russia TV channel which showed a naked man very similar to the Prosecutor General of Russia, Yury Skuratov, in bed with two young women. Putin claimed that expert FSB analysis proved the man on the tape to be Skuratov and that the orgy had been paid for by persons investigated for criminal offences.[34][35] Skuratov had been adversarial toward President Yeltsin and had been aggressively investigating government corruption[36].

On 15 June 2000, The Times reported that Spanish police discovered that Putin had secretly visited a villa in Spain belonging to the oligarch Boris Berezovsky on up to five different occasions in 1999.[37]

Prime Ministry (1999)

On 9 August 1999, Vladimir Putin was appointed one of three First Deputy Prime Ministers, which enabled him later on that day, as the previous government led by Sergei Stepashin had been sacked, to be appointed acting Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation by President Boris Yeltsin.[38] Yeltsin also announced that he wanted to see Putin as his successor. Later, that same day, Putin agreed to run for the presidency.[39] On 16 August, the State Duma approved his appointment as Prime Minister with 233 votes in favour (vs. 84 against, 17 abstained),[40] while a simple majority of 226 was required, making him Russia’s fifth PM in less than eighteen months. On his appointment, few expected Putin, virtually unknown to the general public, to last any longer than his predecessors. Yeltsin’s main opponents and would-be successors, Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov and former Chairman of the Russian Government Yevgeniy Primakov, were already campaigning to replace the ailing president, and they fought hard to prevent Putin’s emergence as a potential successor. Putin’s law-and-order image and his unrelenting approach to the renewed crisis in Chechnya soon combined to raise his popularity and allowed him to overtake all rivals.

Putin’s rise to public office in August 1999 coincided with an aggressive resurgence of the near-dormant conflict in the North Caucasus, when a number of Chechens invaded a neighboring region starting the War in Dagestan. Both in Russia and abroad, Putin’s public image was forged by his tough handling of the war. On assuming the role of acting President on 31 December 1999, Putin went on a previously scheduled visit to Russian troops in Chechnya. In 2003, a controversial referendum was held in Chechnya adopting a new constitution which declares the Republic as a part of Russia. Chechnya has been gradually stabilized with the parliamentary elections and the establishment of a regional government.[41][42] Throughout the war Russia has severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement, although sporadic violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.[43]

While not formally associated with any party, Putin pledged his support to the newly formed Unity Party,[44] which won the second largest percentage of the popular vote (23.3%) in the December 1999 Duma elections, and in turn he was supported by it. Putin appeared to be ideally positioned to win the presidency in elections due the following summer.[citation needed]

Presidency

See also: Vladimir Putin legislation and program

First term (2000 – 2004)

His rise to Russia’s highest office ended up being even more rapid: on 31 December 1999, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned and, according to the constitution, Putin became (acting) President of the Russian Federation.

The first Decree that Putin signed 31 December 1999, was the one “On guarantees for former president of the Russian Federation and members of his family”.[45][46] This ensured that “corruption charges against the outgoing President and his relatives” would not be pursued, although this claim is not strictly verifiable.[47] Later on 12 February 2001 Putin signed a federal law on guarantees for former presidents and their families (See Vladimir Putin legislation and program), which replaced the similar decree. In 1999, Yeltsin and his family were under scrutiny for charges related to money-laundering by the Russian and Swiss authorities.[48]

While his opponents had been preparing for an election in June 2000, Yeltsin’s resignation resulted in the elections being held within three months, in March.[citation needed] Presidential elections were held on 26 March 2000; Putin won in the first round.[citation needed]

Vladimir Putin was inaugurated president on 7 May 2000. He appointed Financial minister Mikhail Kasyanov as his Prime minister. Having announced his intention to consolidate power in the country into a strict vertical, in May 2000 he issued a decree dividing 89 federal subjects of Russia between 7 federal districts overseen by representatives of him in order to facilitate federal administration. In July 2000, according to a law proposed by him and approved by the Russian parliament, Putin also gained the right to dismiss heads of the federal subjects.

During his first term in office, he moved to curb the political ambitions of some of the Yeltsin-era oligarchs such as former Kremlin insider Boris Berezovsky, who had “helped Mr Putin enter the family, and funded the party that formed Mr Putin’s parliamentary base”, according to BBC profile.[49][50] At the same time, according to Vladimir Solovyev, it was Alexey Kudrin who was instrumental in Putin’s assignment to the Presidential Administration of Russia to work with Pavel Borodin,[51] and according to Solovyev, Berezovsky was proposing Igor Ivanov rather than Putin as a new president.[52] A new group of business magnates, such as Gennady Timchenko, Vladimir Yakunin, Yuriy Kovalchuk, Sergey Chemezov, with close personal ties to Putin, emerged. Corruption grew by the magnitude of several times and assumed “systemic and institutionalised” form, according to a report by Boris Nemtsov as well as other sources.[53][54][55][56][57][58] Corruption was characterized by Putin himself as “the most wearying and difficult to resolve” problem he encountered during his two terms in office.[59]

The first major challenge to Putin’s popularity came in August 2000, when he came in for serious criticism in relation to his ignoring of the Kursk submarine disaster.[60]

Putin and George Bush signing SORT

Putin and George Bush signing SORT

In December 2000, Putin sanctioned the law to change the National Anthem of Russia. At the time the Anthem had music by Glinka and no words. The change was to restore (with a minor modification) the music of the post-1944 Soviet anthem by Alexandrov, while the new text was composed by Mikhalkov.[61][62]

Many in the Russian press and in the international media warned that the death of some 130 hostages in the special forces’ rescue operation during the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis would severely damage President Putin’s popularity. However, shortly after the siege had ended, the Russian president is enjoying record public approval ratings – 83% of Russians declared themselves satisfied with the Putin’s rule and his ruthless handling of the siege.[63]

The arrest in early July 2003 of Platon Lebedev, a Mikhail Khodorkovsky partner and second largest shareholder in Yukos, on suspicion of illegally acquiring a stake in a state-owned fertiliser firm, Apatit, in 1994, foreshadowed what by the end of the year became a full-fledged prosecution of Yukos and its management for fraud, embezzlement and tax evasion.

A few month before the elections, Putin fired Kasyanov’s cabinet and appointed relatively obscure Mikhail Fradkov to his place. Sergey Ivanov became the first civilian in Russia to take Defence Minister position.

Read the rest @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Putin

MUCH better than many other presidents bios! 😀

Good day 😉