Who is he?:
Three-term president of Russia
, first leaving office on May 7, 2008, after two terms then serving as prime minister in the administration of President Dmitry Medvedev
. Ran for president a third time in March 2012 and won, making Medvedev prime minister.
Oct. 7, 1952, in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).
Married to Lyudmila since July 28, 1983; they have two daughters, Maria and Katerina. The St. Petersburg Times reported
in 2001 that "Lyudmila Putin once called President Vladimir Putin a vampire, while he in turn has suggested that anyone who could put up with her for three weeks was heroic and deserved a monument." The family is Russian Orthodox Christian. Putin speaks German and English, and enjoys outdoor activities (as evidence by his now-famous shirtless fishing photo); he is also a black belt in judo. He has a Ph.D. in economics.
Technically independent, but is backed by and supports United Russia. During his tenure, citizen movements such as the Nashi
have also been born to support his endeavors.
From 1985 to 1990, Putin worked as a KGB agent in East Germany. In June 1991, he became chairman of the St. Petersburg City Council’s International Relations Committee and in 1994 became first deputy mayor. In 1996 he shifted to presidential administrative politics, promoted to first deputy head of the presidential administration in 1998. In July 1998, he was appointed director of the Federal Security Service. He was appointed prime minister in 1999. On Dec. 31, 1999, he became acting president on the resignation of Boris Yeltsin. On March 26, 2000, he was elected president of Russia; he was re-elected in 2004 and again in 2012 after serving as prime minister for a term to comply with term limits.
As he neared the end of his second term, Putin was named Time magazine's 2007 Person of the Year
. Their headline, "A Tsar Is Born," said it all: With Putin's hand-picked president Medvedev, his intention to be prime minister, and his intention to make the prime ministerial post more powerful, it would be erroneous to say that Putin gives up his reign by stepping down from the presidency. After December 2007 elections, Kremlin-backing parties control 393 of the 450 seats in the Duma
, so even constitutional change is possible to put Putin back in the driver's seat. Taking over the Kremlin again in 2012 elections, many fear that the authoritarian bent of this regime will stymie dissent and put human rights in peril even more.
"The president is the guarantor of the constitution. He sets the main directions for internal and external policies. But the highest executive power in the country is the Russian government, headed by the prime minister. The responsibilities given to the prime minister are very big. I assure you that there will be no problems." -- Vladimir Putin at a Feb. 14, 2008, press conference, about being prime minister in a Medvedev administration