Vladimir Vladimirovich PutinÂ (/ËˆpuËtÉªn/; Russian:Â Ð’Ð»Ð°Ð´Ð¸Ð¼Ð¸Ñ€ Ð’Ð»Ð°Ð´Ð¸Ð¼Ð¸Ñ€Ð¾Ð²Ð¸Ñ‡ ÐŸÑƒÑ‚Ð¸Ð½,Â romanized:Â Vladimir VladimiroviÄ Putin,Â Russian pronunciation:Â [vÉ«ÉËˆdÊ²imÊ²Éªr vÉ«ÉËˆdÊ²imÊ²ÉªrÉ™vÊ²ÉªtÉ• ËˆputÊ²Éªn]; born 7 October 1952) is a Russian politician who has served as theÂ President of RussiaÂ since 2012, previously holding the position from 2000 until 2008.[a]Â He was also theÂ Prime Minister of RussiaÂ from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012.
Putin was born inÂ LeningradÂ and studied law atÂ Leningrad State University, graduating in 1975. Putin worked as aÂ KGBÂ foreign intelligence officer for 16 years, rising to the rank ofÂ Lieutenant Colonel, before resigning in 1991 to begin a political career in Saint Petersburg. He later moved to Moscow in 1996 to join the administration of PresidentÂ Boris Yeltsin, serving first asÂ Director of the Federal Security ServiceÂ (FSB), the KGB’s successor agency, before being appointed as prime minister in August 1999. After the resignation of Yeltsin, PutinÂ was electedÂ to succeed him.
During his first tenure as president, theÂ Russian economyÂ grew for eight straight years, with GDP measured byÂ purchasing powerÂ increasing by 72%. The growth was a result of theÂ 2000s commodities boom, recovery from theÂ post-Communist depressionÂ andÂ financial crises, and prudent economic and fiscal policies.Â After serving as prime minister underÂ Dmitry Medvedev, Putin announced he would seek a third term as president, and won theÂ March 2012 electionÂ with 64% of the vote.Â Falling oil prices coupled withÂ international sanctionsÂ imposed at the beginning of 2014 afterÂ Russia’s annexation of CrimeaÂ andÂ military intervention in Eastern UkraineÂ led to GDP shrinking by 3.7% in 2015, though the Russian economy rebounded in 2016 with 0.3% GDP growth and the recession officially ended.Â Putin gained 76% of theÂ March 2018 electionÂ and was re-elected for a six-year term that will end in 2024.
Under Putin’s leadership, Russia has experiencedÂ democratic backsliding. Experts do not generally consider Russia to be a democracy, citing purges and jailing of political opponents, curtailed press freedom, and the lack of free and fair elections. Russia has scored poorly onÂ Transparency International‘sÂ Corruption Perceptions Index,Â Economist Intelligence Unit‘sÂ Democracy IndexÂ andÂ Freedom House‘sÂ Freedom in the WorldÂ index (including a record low 20/100 rating in the 2017 Freedom in the World report, a rating not given since the time of theÂ Soviet Union). Human rights organizations and activists have accused Putin of persecuting political critics and activists, as well as ordering them tortured or assassinated; he has rejected accusations of human rights abuses. Officials of the United States government have accused him of leadingÂ an interference programÂ againstÂ Hillary ClintonÂ in support ofÂ Donald TrumpÂ during theÂ U.S. presidential election in 2016, an allegation which both Trump and Putin have frequently denied and criticized.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born on 7 October 1952 inÂ Leningrad,Â Russian SFSR,Â Soviet UnionÂ (nowÂ Saint Petersburg),Â the youngest of three children of Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin (1911â€“1999) and Maria Ivanovna Putina (nÃ©eÂ Shelomova; 1911â€“1998). Vladimir Spiridonovich’s father was cook toÂ Vladimir Lenin.Â Putin’s birth was preceded by the deaths of two brothers, Viktor and Albert, born in the mid-1930s. Albert died in infancy and Viktor died ofÂ diphtheriaÂ during theÂ Siege of LeningradÂ in World War II.Â Putin’s mother was a factory worker and his father was aÂ conscriptÂ in theÂ Soviet Navy, serving in theÂ submarineÂ fleet in the early 1930s. Early inÂ World War II, his father served in theÂ destruction battalionÂ of theÂ NKVD.Â Later, he was transferred to the regular army and was severely wounded in 1942.Â Putin’s maternal grandmother wasÂ killed by the German occupiersÂ ofÂ TverÂ region in 1941, and his maternal uncles disappeared at the war front.
On 1 September 1960, Putin started at School No. 193 at Baskov Lane, near his home. He was one of a few in the class of approximately 45 pupils who was not yet a member of theÂ Young Pioneer organization. At age 12, he began to practiceÂ samboÂ andÂ judo. He is a Judo black belt and national master of sports in Sambo. He wished to emulate the intelligence officers portrayed inÂ Soviet cinema.Â Putin studied German at Saint Petersburg High School 281 and speaks German fluently.
Putin studied Law at the Leningrad State University (nowÂ Saint Petersburg State University) in 1970 and graduated in 1975.Â His thesis was on “TheÂ Most Favored Nation Trading PrincipleÂ in International Law”.Â While there, he was required to join theÂ Communist Party of the Soviet UnionÂ and remained a member until December 1991.Â Putin metÂ Anatoly Sobchak, an assistant professor who taughtÂ business law,[b]Â was co-author of theÂ Russian constitution, and who would be influential in Putin’s career.
In 1975, Putin joined theÂ KGBÂ and trained at the 401st KGB school in Okhta, Leningrad.Â After training, he worked in the Second Chief Directorate (counter-intelligence), before he was transferred to theÂ First Chief Directorate, where he monitored foreigners and consular officials in Leningrad.Â In September 1984, Putin was sent to Moscow for further training at theÂ Yuri Andropov Red Banner Institute.Â From 1985 to 1990 he served inÂ Dresden,Â East Germany,Â using a cover identity as a translator.Â Masha Gessen, a Russian-American who has authored a biography about Putin, claims “Putin and his colleagues were reduced mainly to collecting press clippings, thus contributing to the mountains of useless information produced by the KGB”.Â According to Putin’s official biography, during theÂ fall of the Berlin WallÂ that began on 9 November 1989, he burned KGB files to prevent demonstrators from obtaining them.
After theÂ collapse of the Communist East German government, Putin returned to Leningrad in early 1990, where he worked for about three months with the International Affairs section ofÂ Leningrad State University, reporting to Vice-RectorÂ Yuriy Molchanov.Â There, he looked for new KGB recruits, watched the student body, and renewed his friendship with his former professor,Â Anatoly Sobchak, soon to be theÂ Mayor of Leningrad.Â Putin claims that he resigned with the rank ofÂ Lieutenant ColonelÂ on 20 August 1991,Â on the second day of theÂ 1991 Soviet coup d’Ã©tat attemptÂ against the Soviet PresidentÂ Mikhail Gorbachev.Â Putin said: “As soon as the coup began, I immediately decided which side I was on”, although he also noted that the choice was hard because he had spent the best part of his life with “the organs”.
1990â€“1996: Saint Petersburg administration
In May 1990, Putin was appointed as an advisor on international affairs to the Mayor of LeningradÂ Anatoly Sobchak. In aÂ 2017 interviewÂ withÂ Oliver Stone, Putin said that he resigned from the KGB in 1991, following the coup against Mikhail Gorbachev, as he did not agree with what had happened and did not want to be part of the intelligence in the new administration.
On 28 June 1991, he became head of the Committee for External Relations of theÂ Mayor’s Office, with responsibility for promoting international relations and foreign investmentsÂ and registering business ventures. Within a year, Putin was investigated by the city legislative council led byÂ Marina Salye. It was concluded that he had understated prices and permitted the export of metals valued at $93Â million in exchange for foreign food aid that never arrived.Â Despite the investigators’ recommendation that Putin be fired, Putin remained head of the Committee for External Relations until 1996.Â From 1994 to 1996, he held several other political and governmental positions in Saint Petersburg.
In March 1994, Putin was appointed as First Deputy Chairman of theÂ Government of Saint Petersburg. In May 1995, he organized the Saint Petersburg branch of the pro-governmentÂ Our Home â€“ RussiaÂ political party, theÂ liberalÂ party of powerÂ founded by Prime MinisterÂ Viktor Chernomyrdin. In 1995, he managed theÂ legislative election campaignÂ for that party, and from 1995 through June 1997, he was the leader of its Saint Petersburg branch.
1996â€“1999: Early Moscow career
In June 1996, Sobchak lost his bid for reelection in Saint Petersburg, so Putin moved to Moscow and was appointed as Deputy Chief of theÂ Presidential Property Management DepartmentÂ [ru]Â headed byÂ Pavel Borodin. He occupied this position until March 1997. During his tenure, Putin was responsible for the foreign property of the state and organized the transfer of the former assets of the Soviet Union andÂ Communist PartyÂ to the Russian Federation.
On 26 March 1997, PresidentÂ Boris YeltsinÂ appointed Putin deputy chief ofÂ Presidential Staff, which he remained until May 1998, and chief of the Main Control Directorate of the Presidential Property Management Department (until June 1998). His predecessor on this position wasÂ Alexei KudrinÂ and the successor wasÂ Nikolai Patrushev, both future prominent politicians and Putin’s associates.
On 27 June 1997, at theÂ Saint Petersburg Mining Institute, guided by rectorÂ Vladimir Litvinenko, Putin defended hisÂ Candidate of ScienceÂ dissertation in economics, titled “The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations”.Â This exemplified the custom in Russia for a rising young official to write a scholarly work in mid-career.Â When Putin later became president, the dissertation became a target ofÂ plagiarismÂ accusations by fellows at theÂ Brookings Institution; although the dissertation was referenced,Â the Brookings fellows asserted that it constituted plagiarism albeit perhaps unintentional.Â The dissertation committee denied the accusations.
On 25 May 1998, Putin was appointed First Deputy Chief ofÂ Presidential StaffÂ for regions, replacingÂ Viktoriya Mitina; and, on 15 July, he was appointed head of the commission for the preparation of agreements on the delimitation of power of regions and the federal center attached to the president, replacingÂ Sergey Shakhray. After Putin’s appointment, the commission completed no such agreements, although during Shakhray’s term as the Head of the Commission 46 agreements were signed.Â Later, after becoming president, Putin canceled all those agreements.
On 25 July 1998, Yeltsin appointed Putin asÂ DirectorÂ of theÂ Federal Security ServiceÂ (FSB), the primary intelligence and security organization of the Russian Federation and the successor to the KGB.
1999: First premiership
On 9 August 1999, Putin was appointed one of three First Deputy Prime Ministers, and later on that day, was appointed acting Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation by President Yeltsin.Â Yeltsin also announced that he wanted to see Putin as his successor. Later on that same day, Putin agreed to run for the presidency.
On 16 August, theÂ State DumaÂ approved his appointment as Prime Minister with 233 votes in favor (vs. 84 against, 17 abstained),Â while a simple majority of 226 was required, making him Russia’s fifth PM in fewer than eighteen months. On his appointment, few expected Putin, virtually unknown to the general public, to last any longer than his predecessors. He was initially regarded as a Yeltsin loyalist; like other prime ministers of Boris Yeltsin, Putin did not choose ministers himself, his cabinet was determined by the presidential administration.
Yeltsin’s main opponents and would-be successors were already campaigning to replace the ailing president, and they fought hard to prevent Putin’s emergence as a potential successor. Following theÂ Russian apartment bombings, Putin’sÂ law-and-orderÂ image and unrelenting approach to theÂ Second Chechen WarÂ against theÂ Chechen Republic of IchkeriaÂ soon combined to raise his popularity and allowed him to overtake his rivals.
While not formally associated with any party, Putin pledged his support to the newly formedÂ Unity Party,Â which won the second largest percentage of the popular vote (23.3%) in the December 1999Â DumaÂ elections, and in turn supported Putin.
1999â€“2000: Acting presidency
On 31 December 1999, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned and, according to theÂ Constitution of Russia, Putin becameÂ Acting President of the Russian Federation. On assuming this role, Putin went on a previously scheduled visit to Russian troops in Chechnya.
The firstÂ Presidential DecreeÂ that Putin signed, on 31 December 1999, was titled “On guarantees for former president of the Russian Federation and members of his family”.Â This ensured that “corruption charges against the outgoing President and his relatives” would not be pursued.Â This was most notably targeted at theÂ MabetexÂ bribery case in which Yeltsin’s family members were involved. On 30 August 2000, a criminal investigation (number 18/238278-95) was dropped in which Putin himself was one of the suspectsÂ as a member of theÂ Saint PetersburgÂ city government. On 30 December 2000, yet another case against the prosecutor general was dropped “for lack of evidence”, in spite of thousands of documents passed by Swiss prosecution.Â On 12 February 2001, Putin signed a similarÂ federal lawÂ which replaced theÂ decreeÂ of 1999. A case regarding Putin’s alleged corruption in metal exports from 1992 was brought back byÂ Marina Salye, but she was silenced and forced to leave Saint Petersburg.
While his opponents had been preparing for an election in June 2000, Yeltsin’s resignation resulted in theÂ presidential electionsÂ being held within three months, on 26 March 2000; Putin won in the first round with 53% of the vote.
2000â€“2004: First presidential term
The first major challenge to Putin’s popularity came in August 2000, when he was criticized for the alleged mishandling of theÂ KurskÂ submarine disaster.Â That criticism was largely because it was several days before Putin returned from vacation, and several more before he visited the scene.
Between 2000 and 2004, Putin set about the reconstruction of the impoverished condition of the country, apparently winning a power-struggle with theÂ Russian oligarchs, reaching a ‘grand bargain’ with them. This bargain allowed the oligarchs to maintain most of their powers, in exchange for their explicit support forâ€”and alignment withâ€”Putin’s government.
In 2003, a referendum was held inÂ Chechnya, adopting a new constitution which declares that the Republic of Chechnya is a part of Russia; on the other hand, the region did acquire autonomy.Â Chechnya has been gradually stabilized with the establishment of the Parliamentary elections and a Regional Government.Â Throughout theÂ Second Chechen War, Russia severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement; however, sporadic attacks by rebels continued to occur throughout the northern Caucasus.
2004â€“2008: Second presidential term
On 14 March 2004,Â Putin was electedÂ to the presidency for a second term, receiving 71% of the vote.Â TheÂ Beslan school hostage crisisÂ took place in September 2004, in which hundreds died. Many in the Russian press and in the international media warned that the deaths of 130 hostages in the special forces’ rescue operation during the 2002Â Moscow theater hostage crisisÂ would severely damage President Putin’s popularity. However, shortly after the siege had ended, the Russian president enjoyed record public approval ratings â€“ 83% of Russians declared themselves satisfied with Putin and his handling of the siege.
The near 10-year period prior to the rise of Putin after the dissolution of Soviet rule was a time of upheaval in Russia.Â In a 2005Â KremlinÂ speech, Putin characterized the collapse of theÂ Soviet UnionÂ as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the Twentieth Century.”Â Putin elaborated “Moreover, the epidemic of disintegration infected Russia itself.”Â The country’s cradle-to-graveÂ social safety netÂ was gone and life expectancy declined in the period preceding Putin’s rule.Â In 2005, theÂ National Priority ProjectsÂ were launched to improve Russia’sÂ health care,Â education,Â housingÂ andÂ agriculture.
The continued criminal prosecution of Russia’s then richest man, President ofÂ YukosÂ oil and gas companyÂ Mikhail Khodorkovsky, for fraud andÂ tax evasionÂ was seen by the international press as a retaliation for Khodorkovsky’s donations to both liberal and communist opponents of the Kremlin.Â The government said that Khodorkovsky was “corrupting” a large segment of the Duma to prevent changes to the tax code.Â Khodorkovsky was arrested, Yukos was bankrupted and the company’s assets were auctioned at below-market value, with the largest share acquired by the state companyÂ Rosneft.Â The fate of Yukos was seen as a sign of a broader shift of Russia towards a system ofÂ state capitalism.Â This was underscored in July 2014 when shareholders of Yukos were awarded $50Â billion in compensation by theÂ Permanent Arbitration CourtÂ inÂ The Hague.
On 7 October 2006,Â Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist who exposed corruption in theÂ Russian armyÂ and its conduct inÂ Chechnya, was shot in the lobby of her apartment building, on Putin’s birthday. The death of Politkovskaya triggered international criticism, with accusations that Putin had failed to protect the country’s new independent media.Â Putin himself said that her death caused the government more problems than her writings.
In 2007, “Dissenters’ Marches” were organized by the opposition groupÂ The Other Russia,Â led by former chess championÂ Garry KasparovÂ and national-Bolshevist leaderÂ Eduard Limonov. Following prior warnings, demonstrations in several Russian cities were met by police action, which included interfering with the travel of the protesters and the arrests of as many as 150 people who attempted to break through police lines.
On 12 September 2007, Putin dissolved the government upon the request of Prime MinisterÂ Mikhail Fradkov. Fradkov commented that it was to give the President a “free hand” in the run-up to the parliamentary election.Â Viktor ZubkovÂ was appointed the new prime minister.
In December 2007,Â United RussiaÂ won 64.24% of the popular vote in their run forÂ State DumaÂ according to election preliminary results.Â United Russia’s victory in the December 2007 elections was seen by many as an indication of strong popular support of the then Russian leadership and its policies.
2008â€“2012: Second premiership
Putin was barred from a third consecutive term by theÂ Constitution. First Deputy Prime MinisterÂ Dmitry MedvedevÂ was elected his successor. In aÂ power-switching operation on 8 May 2008, only a day after handing the presidency to Medvedev, Putin was appointedÂ Prime Minister of Russia, maintaining his political dominance.
Putin has said that overcoming the consequences of the world economic crisis was one of the two main achievements of his second Premiership.Â The other was theÂ stabilizing the size of Russia’s populationÂ between 2008 and 2011 following a long period of demographic collapse that began in the 1990s.
At theÂ United RussiaÂ Congress in Moscow on 24 September 2011, Medvedev officially proposed that Putin stand for the Presidency in 2012, an offer Putin accepted. Given United Russia’s near-total dominance of Russian politics, many observers believed that Putin was assured of a third term. The move was expected to see Medvedev stand on the United Russia ticket in the parliamentary elections in December, with a goal of becoming Prime Minister at the end of his presidential term.
After theÂ parliamentary electionsÂ on 4 December 2011, tens of thousands of Russians engaged inÂ protestsÂ against alleged electoral fraud, the largest protests in Putin’s time. Protesters criticized Putin andÂ United RussiaÂ and demanded annulment of the election results.Â Those protests sparked the fear of aÂ colour revolutionÂ in society.Â Putin allegedly organized a number of paramilitary groups loyal to himself and to the United Russia party in the period between 2005 and 2012.
2012â€“2018: Third presidential term
On 24 September 2011, while speaking at the United Russia party congress, Medvedev announced that he would recommend the party nominate Putin as its presidential candidate. He also revealed that the two men had long ago cut a deal to allow Putin to run for president in 2012.Â This switch was termed by many in the media as “Rokirovka”, the Russian term for the chess move “castling“. Medvedev said he himself would be ready to perform “practical work in the government”.
On 4 March 2012, Putin won theÂ 2012 Russian presidential electionsÂ in the first round, with 63.6% of the vote, despite widespread accusations of vote-rigging.Â Opposition groups accused Putin and theÂ United RussiaÂ party of fraud.Â While efforts to make the elections transparent were publicized, including the usage ofÂ webcamsÂ in polling stations, the vote was criticized by the Russian opposition and by international observers from theÂ Organization for Security and Co-operation in EuropeÂ for procedural irregularities.
Anti-Putin protests took place during and directly after the presidential campaign. The most notorious protest was theÂ Pussy riotÂ performance on 21 February, and subsequent trial.Â An estimated 8,000â€“20,000 protesters gathered in Moscow on 6 May,Â when eighty people were injured in confrontations with police,Â and 450 were arrested, with another 120 arrests taking place the following day.Â A counter-protest of Putin supporters occurred which culminated in a gathering of an estimated 130,000 supporters at theÂ Luzhniki Stadium, Russia’s largest stadium. Some of the attendees stated that they had been paid to come, were forced to come by their employers, or were misled into believing that they were going to attend a folk festival instead.Â The rally is considered to be the largest in support of Putin to date.
Putin’s presidency wasÂ inauguratedÂ in theÂ KremlinÂ on 7 May 2012.Â On his first day as president, Putin issued 14Â Presidential decrees, which are sometimes called the “May Decrees” by the media, including a lengthy one stating wide-ranging goals for theÂ Russian economy. Other decrees concernedÂ education, housing, skilled labor training,Â relations with the European Union, theÂ defense industry, inter-ethnic relations, and other policy areas dealt with in Putin’s program articles issued during the presidential campaign.
In 2012 and 2013, Putin and the United Russia party backed stricter legislation against theÂ LGBTÂ community, inÂ Saint Petersburg,Â ArchangelskÂ andÂ Novosibirsk; a law called theÂ Russian gay propaganda law, that is against “homosexual propaganda” (which prohibits such symbols as theÂ rainbow flagÂ as well as published works containing homosexual content) was adopted by theÂ State DumaÂ in June 2013.Â Responding to international concerns about Russia’s legislation, Putin asked critics to note that the law was a “ban on the propaganda of pedophilia and homosexuality” and he stated that homosexual visitors to theÂ 2014 Winter OlympicsÂ should “leave the children in peace” but denied there was any “professional, career or social discrimination” against homosexuals in Russia.
In June 2013, Putin attended a televised rally of theÂ All-Russia People’s FrontÂ where he was elected head of the movement,Â which was set up in 2011.Â According to journalistÂ Steve Rosenberg, the movement is intended to “reconnect the Kremlin to the Russian people” and one day, if necessary, replace the increasingly unpopularÂ United RussiaÂ party that currently backs Putin.
Intervention in Ukraine and in Crimea
In 2014, Russia made several military incursions intoÂ Ukrainian territory. After theÂ EuromaidanÂ protests and the fall of Ukrainian presidentÂ Viktor Yanukovych,Â Russian soldiers without insigniasÂ took control of strategic positions and infrastructure within the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. Russia thenÂ annexed the Republic of Crimea and City of SevastopolÂ after aÂ referendumÂ in which Crimeans voted to join the Russian Federation, according to official results.Â Subsequently, demonstrations against Ukrainian Rada legislative actions by pro-Russian groups in theÂ DonbassÂ area of Ukraine escalated into anÂ armed conflictÂ between the Ukrainian government and the Russia-backed separatist forces of the self-declaredÂ DonetskÂ andÂ LuganskÂ People’s Republics. In August Russian military vehicles crossed the border in several locations of Donetsk Oblast.Â The incursion by the Russian military was seen[by whom?]Â as responsible for the defeat of Ukrainian forces in early September.
In November 2014, the Ukrainian military reported intensive movement of troops and equipment from Russia into the separatist-controlled parts of eastern Ukraine.Â The Associated Press reported 80 unmarked military vehicles on the move in rebel-controlled areas.Â AnÂ OSCEÂ Special Monitoring Mission observed convoys of heavy weapons and tanks inÂ DPR-controlled territory without insignia.Â OSCE monitors further stated that they observed vehicles transporting ammunition and soldiers’Â dead bodiesÂ crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border under the guise ofÂ humanitarian-aidÂ convoys.Â As of early August 2015, the OSCE observed over 21 such vehicles marked with the Russian military code for soldiers killed in action.Â According toÂ The Moscow Times, Russia has tried to intimidate and silence human-rights workers discussing Russian soldiers’ deaths in the conflict.Â The OSCE repeatedly reported that its observers were denied access to the areas controlled by “combined Russian-separatist forces”.
The majority of members of the international community and organizations such asÂ Amnesty InternationalÂ have condemned Russia for its actions in post-revolutionary Ukraine, accusing it of breaking international law and of violating Ukrainian sovereignty. Many countries implementedÂ economic sanctions against Russia, Russian individuals or companiesÂ â€“ to which Russia responded in kind.
In October 2015,Â The Washington PostÂ reported that Russia had redeployed some of its elite units from Ukraine toÂ SyriaÂ in recent weeks to support Syrian PresidentÂ Bashar al-Assad.Â In December 2015, Russian Federation President Putin admitted that Russian military intelligence officers were operating in Ukraine.
Many[quantify]Â members of the international community assumed that Putin’s annexation of Crimea had initiated a completely new kind of Russian foreign policy.Â They[who?]Â took the annexation of Crimea to mean that his foreign policy had shifted “from state-driven foreign policy” to taking an offensive stance to re-create the Soviet Union.Â However, this policy shift can be understood[by whom?]Â as Putin trying to defend nations in Russia’s sphere of influence from encroaching western power. While the act to annex the Crimea was bold and drastic, his “new” foreign policy may have more similarities to his older policies.
Intervention in Syria
On 30 September 2015, President Putin authorized Russian military intervention in theÂ Syrian Civil War, following a formal request by the Syrian government for military help against rebel and jihadist groups.
The Russian military activities consisted of air strikes, cruise missile strikes and the use of front line advisors and Russian special forces against militant groups opposed to theÂ Syrian government, including theÂ Syrian opposition, as well asÂ Islamic State of Iraq and the LevantÂ (ISIL),Â al-Nusra FrontÂ (al-Qaeda in the Levant),Â Tahrir al-Sham,Â Ahrar al-ShamÂ and theÂ Army of Conquest.Â After Putin’s announcement on 14 March 2016 that the mission he had set for the Russian military in Syria had been “largely accomplished” and ordered the withdrawal of the “main part” of the Russian forces from Syria,Â Russian forces deployed in Syria continued to actively operate in support of the Syrian government.
Russia’s interference in the US election
In January 2017, a U.S. intelligence community assessment expressed “high confidence” that Putin personally ordered an “influence campaign,” initially to denigrate Hillary Clinton and to harm her electoral chances and potential presidency, then later developing “a clear preference” for Donald Trump.Â Both TrumpÂ and Putin has consistently denied any Russian interference in the U.S. election.Â The New York TimesÂ reported in July 2018 that theÂ CIAÂ had long nurtured a Russian source who eventually rose to a position close to Putin, allowing the source to pass key information in 2016 about Putin’s direct involvement.Â SuspectedÂ CIA’s moleÂ named as Oleg Smolenkov is now reported to be living in the United States.
2018â€“present: Fourth presidential term
Putin won theÂ 2018 presidential electionÂ with more than 76% of the vote.Â His fourth term began on 7 May 2018,Â which will last until 2024.Â On the same day, Putin invited Dmitry Medvedev to form a new government.Â On 15 May 2018, Putin took part in the opening of the movement along the highway section of theÂ Crimean bridge.Â On 18 May 2018, Putin signed decrees on the composition of the new Government.Â On 25 May 2018, Putin announced that he would not run for president in 2024, justifying this in compliance with the Russian Constitution.Â On 14 June 2018, Putin opened theÂ 21st FIFA World Cup, which took place in Russia for the first time.
In September 2019, Putin’s administration interfered with the results of Russia’s nationwide regional elections, and manipulated it by eliminating all candidates in the opposition. The event that was aimed at contributing to the ruling party,Â United Russia’sÂ victory, also contributed to inciting mass protests for democracy, leading to large-scale arrests and cases of police brutality.
On 15 January 2020, Dmitry Medvedev and his entire government resigned afterÂ Vladimir Putin’s Address to the Federal Assembly. Putin suggested major constitutional amendments prior to his retirement in 2024.Â At the same time, on behalf of Putin, he continued to exercise his powers until the formation of a new government.Â At the same time, Putin suggested that Medvedev take the post of Deputy Secretary of theÂ Security Council.
On 15 January 2020, Putin nominatedÂ Mikhail Mishustin, head of theÂ country’s Federal Tax ServiceÂ for the post of Prime Minister. The next day, he was confirmed by the State Duma to the postÂ and appointed Prime Minister by Putin’s decree.Â This was the first time ever that a PM was confirmed without any votes against. On 21 January 2020, Mishustin presented to Vladimir Putin a draft structure of hisÂ Cabinet. On the same day, the President signed a decree on the structure of the Cabinet and appointed the proposed Ministers.
Putin’s domestic policies, particularly early in his first presidency, were aimed at creating a verticalÂ power structure. On 13 May 2000, he issued a decree putting the 89Â federal subjects of RussiaÂ into seven administrativeÂ federal districtsÂ and appointed a presidential envoy responsible for each of those districts (whose official title is Plenipotentiary Representative).
According toÂ Stephen White, under the presidency of Putin Russia made it clear that it had no intention of establishing a “second edition” of the American or British political system, but rather a system that was closer to Russia’s own traditions and circumstances.Â Some commentators have described Putin’s administration as a “sovereign democracy“.Â According to the proponents of that description (primarilyÂ Vladislav Surkov), the government’s actions and policies ought above all to enjoy popular support within Russia itself and not be directed or influenced from outside the country.Â The practice of the system is however characterized by Swedish economist Anders Ã…slund:
After Putin resumed the presidency in 2012, his rule is best described as “manual management” as the Russians like to put it. Putin does whatever he wants, with little consideration to the consequences with one important caveat. During the Russian financial crash of August 1998, Putin learned that financial crises are politically destabilizing and must be avoided at all costs. Therefore, he cares about financial stability.â€”â€‰Anders Ã…slund, “The Illusions of Putin’s Russia”
The period after 2012 also saw mass protests against the falsification of elections, censorship and toughening of free assembly laws.
In July 2000, according to a law proposed by Putin and approved by theÂ Federal Assembly of Russia, Putin gained the right to dismiss the heads of the 89 federal subjects. In 2004, the direct election of thoseÂ heads (usually called “governors”)Â by popular vote was replaced with a system whereby they would be nominated by the president and approved or disapproved by regional legislatures.Â This was seen by Putin as a necessary move to stop separatist tendencies and get rid of those governors who were connected with organised crime.Â This and other government actions effected under Putin’s presidency have been criticised by many independent Russian media outlets and Western commentators as anti-democratic.Â In 2012, as proposed by Putin’s successor, Dmitry Medvedev, the direct election of governors was re-introduced.
During his first term in office, Putin opposed some of the Yeltsin-eraÂ oligarchs, as well as his political opponents, resulting in the exile or imprisonment of such people asÂ Boris Berezovsky,Â Vladimir Gusinsky, andÂ Mikhail Khodorkovsky; other oligarchs such asÂ Roman AbramovichÂ andÂ Arkady RotenbergÂ are friends and allies with Putin.
Putin succeeded in codifying land law and tax law and promulgated new codes on labor, administrative, criminal, commercial and civil procedural law.Â Under Medvedev’s presidency, Putin’s government implemented some key reforms in the area of state security, theÂ Russian police reformÂ and theÂ Russian military reform.
Economic, industrial, and energy policies
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Fueled by theÂ 2000s commodities boomÂ including recordÂ high oil prices,Â under the Putin administration from 2001 to 2007, the economy madeÂ real gainsÂ of an average 7% per year,Â making it the 7th largest economy in the world inÂ purchasing power. In 2007, Russia’s GDP exceeded that ofÂ Russian SFSRÂ in 1990, having recovered from theÂ 1998 financial crisisÂ and the preceding recession in the 1990s.Â By 2008, Russia’s GDP measured byÂ purchasing powerÂ increased by 72%.
During Putin’s first eight years in office, industry grew substantially, as did production, construction, real incomes, credit, and the middle class.Â Putin has also been praised for eliminating widespreadÂ barterÂ and thus boosting the economy.Â Inflation remained a problem however.
Control over the economy was increased by placing individuals from the intelligence services and the military in key positions of the Russian economy, including on boards of large companies. In 2005, an industry consolidation programme was launched to bring the main aircraft producing companies under a single umbrella organization, theÂ United Aircraft CorporationÂ (UAC). The aim was to optimize production lines and minimise losses.Â The UAC is one of Russia’s “national champions” and comparable toÂ EADSÂ in Europe.
A program was introduced with the aim of increasingÂ Russia’s share of the European energy marketÂ by building submerged gas pipelines bypassingÂ UkraineÂ and other countries which were often seen as non-reliable transit partners by Russia, especially following theÂ Russia-Ukraine gas disputesÂ of the late 2000s. Russia also undermined the rivalÂ NabuccoÂ pipeline project by buying gas from Turkmenistan and redirecting it into Russian pipelines.
Russia diversified its export markets by building theÂ Trans-Siberian oil pipelineÂ to support oil exports to China, Japan andÂ Korea, as well as theÂ Sakhalinâ€“Khabarovskâ€“Vladivostok gas pipelineÂ in theÂ Russian Far East. Russia has also recently built several major oil and gas refineries, plants and ports. Major hydropower plants such as theÂ Bureya DamÂ and theÂ Boguchany DamÂ have been constructed, as well as the restoration of theÂ nuclear industry of Russia, with 1Â trillion rubles ($42.7Â billion) which were allocated from the federal budget to nuclear power and industry development before 2015.Â Many nuclear power stations and units are currently being constructed by the state corporationÂ RosatomÂ in Russia and abroad.
A construction program ofÂ floating nuclear power plantsÂ is intended to provide power to Russian Arctic coastal cities andÂ gas rigs, starting in 2012.Â TheÂ Arctic policy of RussiaÂ also includes an offshore oilfield in theÂ Pechora SeaÂ which is expected to start producing in early 2012, with the world’s first ice-resistantÂ oil platformÂ and first offshore Arctic platform.Â In August 2011,Â Rosneft, a Russian government-operated oil company, signed a deal withÂ ExxonMobilÂ for Arctic oil production.
The construction of a pipeline at a cost of $77Â billion, to be jointly funded by Russia and China, was signed off on by Putin in Shanghai on 21 May 2014. On completion, in an estimated 4 to 6 years, the pipeline would deliver natural gas from the state-majority-ownedÂ GazpromÂ to China’s state-ownedÂ China National Petroleum CorporationÂ for the next 30 years, in a deal worth $400bn.
As noted by Russian journalists after the 2018 presidential inauguration, Putin has since 2007 repeatedly predicted that Russia will become “one of the world’s fifth largest economies” roughly within 10 years from that date; thus far this target has not been achieved.
2014 financial crisis and economic downturn
TheÂ ongoing financial crisisÂ began in the second half of 2014 when the Russian ruble collapsed due to a decline in the price of oil andÂ international sanctions against Russia. These events in turn led to loss of investor confidence and capital flight.Â Though it has also been argued that the sanctions had little to no effect on Russia’s economy.
Energy, trade, and finance agreements with China worth $25Â billion were signed in October 2014 in an effort to compensate for international sanctions. The following year, a $400Â billion 30-year natural gas supply agreement was also signed with China.
In 2004, President Putin signed theÂ Kyoto ProtocolÂ treaty designed to reduce greenhouse gases.Â However, Russia did not face mandatory cuts, because the Kyoto Protocol limits emissions to a percentage increase or decrease from 1990 levels and Russia’s greenhouse-gas emissions fell well below the 1990 baseline due to a drop in economic output after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Putin personally supervises a number of protection programmes for rare and endangered animals in Russia, such as theÂ Amur tiger, theÂ white whale, theÂ polar bearÂ and theÂ snow leopard.
Buddhism,Â Eastern Orthodox Christianity,Â IslamÂ and Judaism, defined by law as Russia’s traditional religions and a part of Russia’s historical heritage,Â enjoyed limited state support in the Putin era. The vast construction and restoration of churches, started in the 1990s, continued under Putin, and the state allowed the teaching of religion in schools (parents are provided with a choice for their children to learn the basics of one of the traditional religions or secular ethics). His approach to religious policy has been characterized as one of support for religious freedoms, but also the attempt to unify different religions under the authority of the state.Â In 2012, Putin was honored inÂ BethlehemÂ and a street was named after him.
Putin regularly attends the most important services of theÂ Russian Orthodox ChurchÂ on the mainÂ Orthodox ChristianÂ holidays. He established a good relationship withÂ PatriarchsÂ of the Russian Church, the lateÂ Alexy II of MoscowÂ and the currentÂ Kirill of Moscow. As president, he took an active personal part in promoting theÂ Act of Canonical Communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, signed 17 May 2007 that restored relations between the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church and theÂ Russian Orthodox Church Outside RussiaÂ after the 80-year schism.
Under Putin, theÂ HasidicÂ FJCRÂ became increasingly influential within the Jewish community, partly due to the influence of Federation-supporting businessmen mediated through their alliances with Putin, notablyÂ Lev LevievÂ andÂ Roman Abramovich.Â According to theÂ JTA, Putin is popular amongst theÂ Russian JewishÂ community, who see him as a force for stability. Russia’s chief rabbi,Â Berel Lazar, said Putin “paid great attention to the needs of our community and related to us with a deep respect”.Â In 2016,Â Ronald S. Lauder, the president of theÂ World Jewish Congress, also praised Putin for making Russia “a country where Jews are welcome”.
The resumption of long-distance flights of Russia’sÂ strategic bombersÂ was followed by the announcement by Russian Defense MinisterÂ Anatoliy SerdyukovÂ during his meeting with Putin on 5 December 2007, that 11 ships, including the aircraft carrierÂ Kuznetsov, would take part in the first major navy sortie into the Mediterranean since Soviet times.Â The sortie was to be backed up by 47Â aircraft, including strategic bombers.
While from the early 2000s Russia started placing more money into its military and defense industry, it was only in 2008 that the full-scaleÂ Russian military reformÂ began, aiming to modernize the Russian Armed Forces and making them significantly more effective. The reform was largely carried out by Defense MinisterÂ Anatoly SerdyukovÂ during Medvedev’s Presidency, under the supervision of both Putin, as the Head of Government, and Medvedev, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces.
Key elements of the reform included reducing the armed forces to a strength of one million; reducing the number of officers; centralising officer training from 65 military schools into 10 ‘systemic’ military training centres; creating a professionalÂ NCOÂ corps; reducing the size of the central command; introducing more civilian logistics and auxiliary staff; elimination of cadre-strength formations; reorganising the reserves; reorganising the army into a brigade system, and reorganising air forces into an air base system instead of regiments.
The number of Russia’sÂ military districtsÂ was reduced to four. The term of draft service was reduced from two years to one, which put an end to the oldÂ harassment traditions in Russian army, since all conscripts became very close by draft age. The gradual transition to the majority professional army by the late 2010s was announced, and a large programme of supplying the Armed Forces with new military equipment and ships was started. TheÂ Russian Space ForcesÂ were replaced on 1 December 2011 with theÂ Russian Aerospace Defence Forces.
In spite of Putin’s call for major investments in strategic nuclear weapons, these will fall well below theÂ New STARTÂ limits due to the retirement of aging systems.Â After U.S. PresidentÂ George W. BushÂ withdrew from the 1972Â Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, Putin responded by ordering a build-up ofÂ Russia’s nuclear capabilities, designed to counterbalance U.S. capabilities.Â Most analysts agree that Russia’s nuclear strategy under Putin eventually brought it into violation of the 1987Â Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Because of this, U.S. PresidentÂ Donald TrumpÂ announced the U.S. would no longer consider itself bound by the treaty’s provisions, raising nuclear tensions between the two powers.Â This prompted Putin to state that Russia would not launch first in a nuclear conflict but would “annihilate” any adversary. Russians killed in such a conflict “will go to heaven as martyrs”.Â Most military analysts believe Russia would consider launching first if losing a major conventional conflict as part of an ‘escalate to de-escalateâ€™ strategy that would bring adversaries to the negotiating table.
Putin has also sought to increase Russian territorial claims in the Arctic and its military presence here. In August 2007, Russian expeditionÂ Arktika 2007, part of research related to theÂ 2001 Russian territorial extension claim, planted a flag on the seabed below the North Pole.Â Both Russian submarines and troops deployed in the Arctic have been increasing.
Human rights policy
An NGO based in the New York City;Â Human Rights Watch; in a report entitledÂ Laws of Attrition, authored by Hugh Williamson, the British director of HRW’s Europe & Central Asia Division, has claimed that since May 2012, when Putin was re-elected as president, Russia has enacted many restrictive laws, started inspections of nongovernmental organizations, harassed, intimidated, and imprisoned political activists, and started to restrict critics. The new laws include the “foreign agents” law, which is widely regarded as over-broad by including Russian human rights organizations which receive some international grant funding, the treason law, and the assembly law which penalizes many expressions of dissent.Â Human rights activists have criticized Russia for censoring speech of LGBT activists due toÂ “the gay propaganda law”Â and increasing violence against LGBT+ people due to the law.Â Putin has rejected accusations of human rights abuses.
Scott Gehlbach, an American Professor of Political Science at theÂ University of Wisconsinâ€“Madison, has claimed that since 1999, Putin has reportedly punished journalists who challenge his official point of view.Â Maria Lipman, an American writing inÂ Foreign AffairsÂ (the journal of theÂ Council on Foreign Relations), claims, “The crackdown that followed Putin’s return to the Kremlin in 2012 extended to the liberal media, which had until then been allowed to operate fairly independently.”Â The Internet has attracted Putin’s attention because his critics have tried to use it to challenge his control of information.Â Marian K. Leighton, who worked for theÂ CIAÂ as a Soviet analyst in the 1980s says, “Having muzzled Russia’s print and broadcast media, Putin focused his energies on the Internet.”Â Robert W. Orttung and Christopher Walker report:
- Reporters Without Borders, for instance, ranked Russia 148 in its 2013 list of 179 countries in terms of freedom of the press. It particularly criticized Russia for the crackdown on the political opposition and the failure of the authorities to vigorously pursue and bring to justice criminals who have murdered journalists.Â Freedom HouseÂ ranks Russian media as “not free”, indicating that basic safeguards and guarantees for journalists and media enterprises are absent.
In the early 2000s, Putin and others in his government began promoting the idea in Russian media that they are the modern-day version of the 17th-centuryÂ RomanovÂ tsars who ended Russia’s “Time of Troubles“, meaning they claim to be the peacemakers and stabilizers after the fall of the Soviet Union.
by scholars with Russian conservatism.Â Putin has promoted new think tanks that bring together like-minded intellectuals and writers. For example, theÂ Izborsky Club, founded in 2012 by the conservative right-wing journalistÂ Alexander Prokhanov, stresses (i) Russian nationalism, (ii) the restoration of Russia’s historical greatness, and (iii) systematic opposition to liberal ideas and policies.Â Vladislav Surkov, a senior government official,
has been one of the key economics consultants during Putin’s presidency.
In cultural and social affairs Putin has collaborated closely with theÂ Russian Orthodox Church.Â Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, head of the Church, endorsed his election in 2012 stating Putin’s terms were like “a miracle of God.”Â Steven Myers reports, “The church, once heavily repressed, had emerged from the Soviet collapse as one of the most respected institutions… Now Kiril led the faithful directly into an alliance with the state.”
Mark Woods, aÂ BaptistÂ minister and contributing editor toÂ Christian Today, provides specific examples of how the Church has backed the expansion of Russian power into Crimea and eastern Ukraine.Â More broadly,Â The New York TimesÂ reports in September 2016 how the Church’s policy prescriptions support the Kremlin’s appeal to social conservatives:
- “A fervent foe of homosexuality and any attempt to put individual rights above those of family, community or nation, the Russian Orthodox Church helps project Russia as the natural ally of all those who pine for a more secure, illiberal world free from the tradition-crushing rush of globalization, multiculturalism and women’s and gay rights.Â “
International sporting events
In 2007, Putin led a successful effort on behalf ofÂ SochiÂ (located along theÂ Black SeaÂ near the border between Georgia and Russia) for theÂ 2014 Winter OlympicsÂ and theÂ 2014 Winter Paralympics,Â the firstÂ Winter Olympic GamesÂ to ever be hosted by Russia. Likewise, in 2008, the city ofÂ KazanÂ won the bid for theÂ 2013 Summer Universiade, and on 2 December 2010 Russia won the right to host theÂ 2017 FIFA Confederations CupÂ andÂ 2018 FIFA World Cup, also for the first time in Russian history. In 2013, Putin stated that gay athletes would not face any discrimination at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Wildlife protection and conservation
Putin is chairman of theÂ Russian Geographical Society‘s board of trustees and is actively engaged in the protection of rare species. The programs are being conducted by the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution at theÂ Russian Academy of Sciences.
South and East Asia
In 2012, Putin wrote an article inÂ the HinduÂ newspaper, saying that “The Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and Russia signed in October 2000 became a truly historic step”.Â Prime Minister Manmohan SinghÂ during Putin’s 2012 visit to India: “President Putin is a valued friend of India and the original architect of the India-Russia strategic partnership”.
Putin’s Russia maintains positive relations with otherÂ BRICÂ countries. The country has sought to strengthen ties especially with the People’s Republic of China by signing theÂ Treaty of FriendshipÂ as well as building theÂ Trans-Siberian oil pipelineÂ andÂ Trans-Siberian gas pipelineÂ geared toward growing Chinese energy needs.Â The mutual-security cooperation of the two countries and their central Asian neighbours is facilitated by theÂ Shanghai Cooperation OrganisationÂ (SCO) which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China,Â Kazakhstan,Â Kyrgyzstan, Russia,Â Tajikistan, andÂ Uzbekistan.
The announcement made during the SCO summit that Russia resumes on a permanent basis the long-distance patrol flights of its strategic bombers (suspended in 1992)Â in the light of joint Russian-Chinese military exercises, first-ever in history held on Russian territory,Â made some experts believe that Putin is inclined to set up an anti-
NATOÂ bloc or the Asian version ofÂ OPEC.Â When presented with the suggestion that “Western observers are already likening the SCO to a military organization that would stand in opposition to NATO”, Putin answered that “this kind of comparison is inappropriate in both form and substance”.
A series of so-calledÂ colour revolutionsÂ in theÂ post-Soviet states, namely theÂ Rose RevolutionÂ in Georgia in 2003, theÂ Orange RevolutionÂ in Ukraine in 2004 and theÂ Tulip RevolutionÂ in Kyrgyzstan in 2005, led to frictions in the relations of those countries with Russia. In December 2004, Putin criticized the Rose and Orange revolutions, saying: “If you have permanent revolutions you risk plunging the post-Soviet space into endless conflict”.
A number of economic disputes erupted between Russia and some neighbors, such as theÂ Russian import ban of Georgian wine. And in some cases, such as theÂ Russiaâ€“Ukraine gas disputes, the economic conflicts affected other European countries, for example when aÂ January 2009 gas dispute with UkraineÂ ledÂ state-controlledÂ Russian companyÂ GazpromÂ to halt its deliveries of natural gas to Ukraine,Â which left a number of European states, to which Ukraine transits Russian gas, with serious shortages of natural gas in January 2009.
The plans ofÂ GeorgiaÂ andÂ UkraineÂ to become members ofÂ NATOÂ have caused some tensions between Russia and those states.Â In 2010, Ukraine did abandon these plans.Â Putin allegedly declared at a NATO-Russia summit in 2008 that if Ukraine joined NATO Russia could contend to annex theÂ Ukrainian EastÂ andÂ Crimea.Â At the summit, he told US PresidentÂ George W. BushÂ that “Ukraine is not even a state!” while the following year Putin referred to Ukraine as “Little Russia“.Â Following theÂ 2014 Ukrainian revolutionÂ in March
2014,Â the Russian Federation annexed Crimea.Â According to Putin, this was done because “CrimeaÂ has always been and remains an inseparable part of Russia”.Â After the Russian annexion of Crimea, he said that Ukraine includes “regions of Russia’s historic south” and “was created on a whim by theÂ Bolsheviks“.Â He went on to declare that theÂ February 2014 oustingÂ ofÂ Ukrainian PresidentÂ Viktor YanukovychÂ had been orchestrated by the West as an attempt to weaken Russia. “Our Western partners have
crossed a line. They behaved rudely, irresponsibly and unprofessionally,” he said, adding that the people who had come to power in Ukraine were “nationalists,Â neo-Nazis,Â RussophobesÂ andÂ anti-Semites“.Â In a July 2014 speech midstÂ an armed insurgency inÂ Eastern Ukraine, Putin stated he would use Russia’s “entire arsenal” and “the right of self defence” to protectÂ Russian speakersÂ outside Russia.Â With the split of the Ukrainian orthodox church from the Russian one in 2018, a number of experts came to the conclusion that Putin’s policy of forceful engagement in post-Soviet republics significantly backfired on him, leading to a situation where he “annexed Crimea, but lost Ukraine”, and provoked a much more cautious approach to Russia among other post-Soviet countries.
In late August 2014, Putin stated: “People who have their own views on history and theÂ history of our countryÂ may argue with me, but it seems to me that the Russian andÂ Ukrainian peoplesÂ are practically one people”.Â After making a similar statement, in late December 2015 he stated: “theÂ Ukrainian culture, as well asÂ Ukrainian literature, surely has a source of its own”.
In August 2008,Â Georgian PresidentÂ Mikheil SaakashviliÂ attempted to restore control over the breakawayÂ South Ossetia. However, the Georgian military was soon defeated in the resultingÂ 2008 South Ossetia WarÂ after regular Russian forces entered South Ossetia and then Georgia proper, then also opened a second front in the other Georgian breakaway province ofÂ AbkhaziaÂ with Abkhazian forces.
Despite existing or past tensions between Russia and most of the post-Soviet states, Putin has followed the policy of Eurasian integration. Putin endorsed the idea of aÂ Eurasian UnionÂ in 2011;Â the concept was proposed by theÂ President of KazakhstanÂ in 1994.Â On 18 November 2011, the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed an agreement setting a target of establishing the Eurasian Union by 2015.Â The Eurasian Union was established on 1 January 2015.
United States, Europe, and NATO
Under Putin, Russia’s relationships with NATO and the U.S. have passed through several stages. When he first became president, relations were cautious, but after theÂ 9/11 attacksÂ Putin quickly supported the U.S. in theÂ War on TerrorÂ and the opportunity for partnership appeared.Â However, the U.S. responded by further expansion ofÂ NATOÂ to Russia’s borders and by unilateral withdrawal from the 1972Â Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
From 2003, when Russia did not support theÂ Iraq WarÂ and when Putin became ever more distant from the West in his internal and external policies, relations continued to deteriorate. According to Russia scholarÂ Stephen F. Cohen, the narrative of the mainstream U.S. media, following that of theÂ White House, became anti-Putin.Â In an interview withÂ Michael StÃ¼rmer, Putin said there were three questions which most concerned Russia and Eastern Europe: namely, the status ofÂ Kosovo, theÂ Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in EuropeÂ and American plans to build missile defence sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, and suggested that all three were linked.Â His view was that concessions by the West on one of the questions might be met with concessions from Russia on another.
In February 2007, Putin criticized what he called the United States’ monopolistic dominance in global relations, and “almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations”. He said the result of it is that “no one feels safe! Because no one can feel thatÂ international lawÂ is like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race”.Â This came to be known as theÂ Munich Speech, and former NATO secretaryÂ Jaap de Hoop SchefferÂ called the speech “disappointing and not helpful.”Â The months following Putin’s Munich SpeechÂ were marked by tension and a surge in rhetoric on both sides of the Atlantic. Both Russian and American officials, however, denied the idea of a newÂ Cold War.Â Putin publicly opposed plans for theÂ U.S. missile shieldÂ in Europe and presented PresidentÂ George W. BushÂ with a counterproposal on 7 June 2007 which was declined.Â Russia suspended its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty on 11 December 2007.
Putin had good relations with former American PresidentÂ George W. Bush, and many European leaders. His “cooler” and “more business-like” relationship with Germany’s current chancellor,Â Angela MerkelÂ is often attributed to Merkel’s upbringing in the formerÂ DDR, where Putin was stationed as a KGB agent.Â He had a very friendly and warm relationship with the former Prime Minister of ItalyÂ Silvio Berlusconi;Â the two leaders often described their relationship as a close friendship, continuing to organize bilateral meetings even after Berlusconi’sÂ resignationÂ in November 2011.
In late 2013, Russian-American relations deteriorated further when the United States canceled a summit (for the first time since 1960) after Putin gave asylum toÂ Edward Snowden, who had leaked classified information from the NSA.
Relations were further strained after theÂ 2014â€“15 Russian military intervention in UkraineÂ and theÂ Annexation of Crimea.
In 2014, Russia was suspended from theÂ G8Â group as a result of itsÂ annexationÂ ofÂ Crimea.Â However, in June 2015, Putin told an Italian newspaper that Russia has no intention of attacking NATO.
In December 2016, US intelligence officials (headed byÂ James Clapper) quoted byÂ CBS NewsÂ stated that Putin approved theÂ email hacking and cyber attacks during the U.S. election, against the democratic presidential nomineeÂ Hillary Clinton. A spokesman for Putin denied the reports.Â Putin has repeatedly accused Hillary Clinton, who served as U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, of interfering inÂ Russia’s internal affairs,Â and in December 2016, Clinton accused Putin of having a personal grudge against her.
With the election of Trump, Putin’s favorability in the U.S. increased. A Gallup poll in February 2017 revealed a positive view of Putin among 22% of Americans, the highest since 2003.Â However, Putin has stated thatÂ U.S.â€“Russian relations, already at the lowest level since the end of the Cold War,Â have continued to deteriorate after Trump took office in January 2017.
In 2003,Â relations between Russia and the United KingdomÂ deteriorated when the United Kingdom granted political asylum to Putin’s former patron,Â oligarchÂ Boris Berezovsky.Â This deterioration was intensified by allegations that the British were spying and making secret payments to pro-democracy and human rights groups.
Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko
The end of 2006 brought more strained relations in the wake of the death byÂ poloniumÂ poisoning of former KGB andÂ FSBÂ officerÂ Alexander LitvinenkoÂ in London, who became anÂ MI6Â agent in 2003. In 2007, the crisis in relations continued with expulsion of four RussianÂ envoysÂ over Russia’s refusal to extradite former KGB bodyguardÂ Andrei LugovoiÂ to face charges in the murder of Litvinenko.Â Mirroring the British actions, Russia expelled UK diplomats and took other retaliatory steps.
In 2015â€“16, the British Government conducted an inquiry into the death ofÂ Alexander Litvinenko. Its report was released in January 2016.Â According to the report, “The FSB operation to kill Mr Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr Patrushev and also by President Putin.” The report outlined some possible motives for the murder, including Litvinenko’s public statements andÂ booksÂ aboutÂ the alleged involvement of the FSB in mass murder, and what was “undoubtedly a personal dimension to the antagonism” between Putin and Litvinenko, led to the murder. Media analyst William Dunkerley, writing inÂ The Guardian, criticised the inquiry as politically motivated, biased, lacking in evidence, and logically inconsistent.Â The Kremlin dismissed the Inquiry as “a joke” and “whitewash”.
Poisoning of Sergei Skripal
On 4 March 2018, former double agentÂ Sergei SkripalÂ was poisoned with aÂ Novichok nerve agentÂ inÂ Salisbury.Â 10 days later, the British government formally accused the Russian state of attempted murder, a charge which Russia denied.Â After the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats (an action which would later be responded to with a Russian expulsion of 23 British diplomats),Â BritishÂ Foreign SecretaryÂ Boris JohnsonÂ said on 16 March that it was “overwhelmingly likely” Putin had personally ordered the poisoning of Skripal. Putin’s spokesmanÂ Dmitry PeskovÂ called the allegation “shocking and unpardonable diplomatic misconduct”.
Australia and Latin America
Putin and his successor, Medvedev, enjoyed warm relations with the lateÂ Hugo ChÃ¡vezÂ ofÂ Venezuela. Much of this has been through the sale of military equipment; since 2005, Venezuela has purchased more than $4Â billion worth of arms from Russia.Â In September 2008, Russia sentÂ Tupolev Tu-160Â bombers to Venezuela to carry out training flights.Â In November 2008, both countries held a joint naval exercise in theÂ Caribbean. Earlier in 2000, Putin had re-established stronger ties withÂ Fidel Castro‘sÂ Cuba.
In September 2007, Putin visitedÂ IndonesiaÂ and in doing so became the first Russian leader to visit the country in more than 50 years.Â In the same month, Putin also attended theÂ APECÂ meeting held in Sydney where he met withÂ John Howard, who was theÂ Australian Prime MinisterÂ at the time, and signed a uranium trade deal for Australia to sell uranium to Russia. This was the first visit by a Russian president to Australia.
Middle East and North Africa
On 16 October 2007, Putin visitedÂ IranÂ to participate in the Second Caspian Summit inÂ Tehran,Â where he met with Iranian PresidentÂ Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.Â This was the first visit of a Soviet or Russian leaderÂ to Iran sinceÂ Joseph Stalin‘s participation in theÂ Tehran ConferenceÂ in 1943, and thus marked a significant event inÂ Iran-Russia relations.Â At a press conference after the summit Putin said that “all our (Caspian) states have the right to develop their peaceful nuclear programmes without any restrictions”.
Subsequently, under Medvedev’s presidency,Â Iran-Russia relationsÂ were uneven: Russia did not fulfill the contract of selling to Iran theÂ S-300, one of the most potentÂ anti-aircraft missile systemsÂ currently existing. However, Russian specialists completed the construction of Iran and the Middle East’s first civilian nuclear power facility, theÂ Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, and Russia has continuously opposed the imposition of economic sanctions on Iran by the U.S. and the EU, as well as warning against a military attack on Iran. Putin was
In April 2008, Putin became the first Russian President who visitedÂ Libya.Â Putin condemned theÂ foreign military interventionÂ of Libya, he calledÂ UN resolutionÂ as “defective and flawed,” and added “It allows everything. It resembles medieval calls for crusades.”Â UponÂ the deathÂ ofÂ Muammar Gaddafi, Putin called it as “planned murder” by the
RegardingÂ Syria, from 2000 to 2010 Russia sold around $1.5Â billion worth of arms to that country, makingÂ DamascusÂ Moscow’s seventh-largest client.Â During theÂ Syrian civil war, Russia threatened to veto any sanctions against the Syrian government,Â and continued to supply arms to the regime.
Putin opposed any foreign intervention. In June 2012, in Paris, he rejected the statement of French PresidentÂ FranÃ§ois HollandeÂ who called onÂ Bashar Al-AssadÂ to step down. Putin echoed Assad’s argument that anti-regimeÂ militantsÂ were responsible for much of the bloodshed. He also talked about previous NATO interventions and their results, and asked “What is happening in Libya, in Iraq? Did they become safer? Where are they heading? Nobody has an answer”.
On 11 September 2013,Â The New York TimesÂ published anÂ op-edÂ by Putin urging caution againstÂ US intervention in SyriaÂ and criticizingÂ American exceptionalism.Â Putin subsequently helped to arrange for theÂ destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.Â In 2015, he took a stronger pro-Assad stanceÂ and mobilizedÂ military support for the regime. Some analysts have summarized Putin as being allied withÂ ShiitesÂ andÂ AlawitesÂ in the Middle East.
In October 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited theÂ United Arab Emirates, where six agreements were struck withÂ Abu DhabiÂ Crown PrinceÂ Mohammed bin Zayed. One of them included shared investments betweenÂ Russian sovereign wealth fundÂ and the Emirati investment fundÂ Mubadala. The two nations signed deals worth over $1.3bn, in energy, health and advance technology sectors.
President Putin has attended theÂ BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit conferencesÂ since 2013.
Comparison to Hitler
Many well known politicians and people from other categories have compared Vladimir Putin toÂ Nazi GermanÂ FÃ¼hrerÂ Adolf Hitler. It is often related to theÂ activity against UkraineÂ and the violation ofÂ international law. Among them areÂ Prince Charles,Â Hillary Clinton,Â Wolfgang SchÃ¤uble,Â Mikheil Saakashvili,Â Vladislav Inozemtsev,Â Zbigniew Brzezinski,Â John McCain,Â Marco Rubio,Â Lindsey Graham,Â Stephen Harper,Â Garry Kasparov,Â Charles Lane,Â David Cameron,Â Boris Johnson,Â Dalia Grybauskaite,Â BronisÅ‚aw Komorowski,Â Arkady Babchenko,Â Savik Shuster,Â Stephen Fry,Â Ian Austin,Â Andrey Piontkovsky,Â Boris Nemtsov,Â Nikolay Fyodorov,Â Carl Bildt,Â Petro Poroshenko, andÂ Herta MÃ¼ller. TheÂ Crimean speechÂ of the Russian President played a role for some comparisons on the Ukrainian issue.
Polls and rankings
According to a June 2007 public opinion survey, Putin’s approval rating was 81%, the second highest of any leader in the world that year.Â In January 2013, at the time
ofÂ 2011â€“2013 Russian protests, Putin’s approval rating fell to 62%, the lowest figure since 2000 and a ten-point drop over two years.Â By May 2014, following theÂ 2014 Ukrainian revolutionÂ andÂ annexation of Crimea, Putin’s approval rating had rebounded to 85.9%, a six-year high.
AfterÂ EU and U.S. sanctions against Russian officialsÂ as a result of the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine, Putin’s approval rating reached 87 percent, according to aÂ Levada CenterÂ survey published on 6 August 2014.Â In February 2015, based on new domestic polling, Putin was ranked the world’s most popular politician.Â In June 2015, Putin’s approval rating climbed to 89%, an all-time high.Â In 2016, the approval rating was 81%.
Despite high approval for Putin, confidence in the Russian economy is low, dropping to levels in 2016 that rivaled the recent lows in 2009 at the height of the global economic crisis. Just 14% of Russians in 2016 said their national economy was getting better, and 18% said this about their local economies.Â Putin’s performance at reining in corruption is also unpopular among Russians.Â NewsweekÂ reported in June 2017 that “An opinion poll by the Moscow-based Levada Center indicated that 67 percent held Putin personally responsible for high-level corruption”.
In July 2018, Putin’s approval rating fell to 63% and just 49% would vote for Putin if presidential elections were held.Â Levada poll results published in September 2018 showed Putin’s personal trustworthiness levels at 39% (decline from 59% in November 2017)Â with the main contributing factor being the presidential support of the unpopular pension reform and economic stagnation.Â In October 2018, two-thirds of Russians surveyed in Levada poll agreed that “Putin bears full responsibility for the problems of the country” which has been attributedÂ to decline of a popular belief in “good tsar and badÂ boyars“, a traditional attitude towards justifying failures of top of ruling hierarchy in Russia.
In January 2019, the percentage of Russians trusting the president hit a then-historic minimum â€“ 33.4%.Â It declined further to 31.7% in May 2019Â which led to a dispute between the VCIOM and President’s administration office, who accused it of incorrectly using an open question, after which VCIOM repeated the poll with a closed question getting 72.3%.Â Nonetheless, in April 2019Â GallupÂ poll showed a record number of Russians (20%) willing to permanently emigrate from Russia.Â The decline is even larger in the 17â€“25 age group, “who find themselves largely disconnected from the country’s aging leadership, nostalgic Soviet rhetoric and nepotistic agenda”, according to a report prepared byÂ Vladimir Milov. The percentage of people willing to emigrate permanently in this age group is 41% and 60% has favorable views on the United States (three times more than in the 55+ age group).Â Decline in support for President and the government is also visible in other polls, such as rapidly growing readiness to protest against poor living conditions.
In November 2019 in a Levada poll 53% respondents aged 18â€“24 declared would like to permanently emigrate from Russia.
Critics state that Putin has moved Russia in an autocratic direction.Â Putin has been described as a “dictator” by political opponentÂ Garry Kasparov, as a “bully” and “arrogant” by former U.S. Secretary of StateÂ Hillary Clinton, and as “self-centered” and an “isolationist” by theÂ Dalai Lama.Â Former U.S. Secretary of StateÂ Henry KissingerÂ wrote in 2014 that the West has demonized Putin.
Many Russians credit Putin for reviving Russia’s fortunes.Â Former Soviet Union leaderÂ Mikhail Gorbachev, while acknowledging the flawed democratic procedures and restrictions on media freedom during the Putin presidency, said that Putin had pulled Russia out of chaos at the end of theÂ YeltsinÂ years, and that Russians “must remember that Putin saved Russia from the beginning of a collapse.”Â In 2015, opposition
politicianÂ Boris NemtsovÂ said that Putin was turning Russia into a “raw materials colony” of China.Â Chechen RepublicÂ head and Putin supporter,Â Ramzan Kadyrov, states that Putin saved both the Chechen people and Russia.
Russia has suffered democratic backsliding during Putin’s tenure.Â Freedom HouseÂ has listed Russia as being “not free” since 2005.Â Experts do not generally consider Russia to be a democracy, citing purges and jailing of political opponents, curtailed press freedom, and the
lack of free and fair elections.Â In 2004, Freedom House warned that Russia’s “retreat from freedom marks a low point not registered since 1989, when the country was part of the Soviet Union.”Â TheÂ Economist Intelligence UnitÂ has rated Russia as “authoritarian” since 2011,Â whereas it had previously been considered a “hybrid regime” (with “some form of democratic government” in place) as late as 2007.Â According to political scientist, Larry Diamond, writing in 2015, “no serious scholar would consider Russia today a democracy”.
interaction with wild animals,Â part of a public relations approach that, according toÂ Wired, “deliberately cultivates theÂ macho, take-chargeÂ superheroÂ image”.Â For example, in 2007, the tabloidÂ Komsomolskaya PravdaÂ published a huge photograph of a bare-chested Putin vacationing in the Siberian mountains under the headline: “Be Like Putin.”Â Some of the activities have been criticised for being staged.Â Outside
of Russia, Putin’s macho image has been the subject of parody.Â Putin is believed to be self conscious about his height which has been estimated by Kremlin insiders at between 155Â cm (5Â ft 2 in) and 165Â cm (5Â ft 5 in) tall, but is usually given at 170Â cm (5Â ft 7 in).
Notable examples of Putin’s adventures include:Â flying military jets, demonstrating martial arts,Â riding horses,Â rafting, and fishing and swimming in a cold Siberian river, many of which he did bare chested.Â Other examples are descending in a deepwater
submersible, tranquilizing tigers and polar bears,Â riding a motorbike,Â co-piloting a firefighting plane to dump water on a raging fire,Â shooting darts at whales from aÂ crossbowÂ for eco-tracking,Â driving a race car,Â scuba diving at an archaeological site,Â attempting to lead endangered cranes in a motorizedÂ hang glider,Â and catching large fish.
There are many songs about Putin.Â Some of the well-known include: “Go Hard Like Vladimir Putin” by K. King and Beni Maniaci,Â “VVP” byÂ TajikÂ singer Tolibjon Kurbankhanov,Â “Our Madhouse is Voting for Putin” by Working Faculty and “A Song About Putin” by theÂ Russian Airborne TroopsÂ band.Â There is also “Putin khuilo!“, the song, originally emerged as chants by UkrainianÂ football fansÂ and spread in Ukraine
Putin’s name and image are widely used in advertisement and product branding.Â Among the Putin-branded products areÂ PutinkaÂ vodka, theÂ PuTinÂ brand of canned food, theÂ Gorbusha PutinaÂ caviarÂ and a collection of T-shirts with his image.
In 2015, his advisor was found dead after days of excessive consumption of alcohol, though this was later ruled an accident.
Publication recognition in the United States
In 2007, he was theÂ TimeÂ Person of the Year.Â In 2015, he was No. 1 on theÂ Time’sÂ Most Influential People List.Â ForbesÂ ranked him theÂ World’s Most Powerful IndividualÂ every year from 2013 to 2016.Â He was ranked the second most powerful individual byÂ ForbesÂ in 2018, only behind China’sÂ paramount leaderÂ Xi Jinping.
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Putin has produced many aphorisms and catch-phrases known asÂ putinisms.Â Many of them were first made during his annual Q&A 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, often alluding toÂ Russian jokesÂ and folk sayings.
On 28 July 1983, Putin marriedÂ Lyudmila Shkrebneva, and they lived together inÂ East GermanyÂ from 1985 to 1990. They have two daughters,Â Mariya Putina, born 28 April 1985 in Leningrad, andÂ Yekaterina Putina, born 31 August 1986 inÂ Dresden,Â East Germany.
Official figures released during theÂ legislative election of 2007Â put Putin’s wealth at approximately 3.7Â millionÂ rublesÂ (US$150,000) in bank accounts, a private 77.4-square-meter (833Â sqÂ ft) apartment in Saint Petersburg, and miscellaneous other assets.Â Putin’s reported 2006 income totaled 2 million rubles (approximately $80,000). In 2012, Putin reported an income of 3.6Â million rubles ($113,000).
Putin has been photographed wearing a number of expensive wristwatches, collectively valued at $700,000, nearly six times his annual salary.Â Putin has been known on occasion to give watches valued at thousands of dollars as gifts to peasants and factory workers.
According to Russian opposition politicians and journalists, Putin secretly possesses a multi-billion dollar fortuneÂ via successive ownership of stakes in a number of Russian companies.Â According to one editorial inÂ The Washington Post, “Putin might not technically own these 43 aircraft, but, as the sole political power in Russia, he can act like they’re his”.Â Russian RIA journalist argued that “[Western] intelligence agencies (…) could not find anything”. These contradictory claims were analyzed byÂ Polygraph.infoÂ which looked at a number of reports by Western (Anders Ã…slundÂ estimate of $100â€“160Â billion) and Russian (Stanislav BelkovskyÂ estimated of $40Â billion) analysts,Â CIAÂ (estimate of $40Â billion in 2007) as well as counterarguments of Russian media. Polygraph concluded:
There is uncertainty on the precise sum of Putin’s wealth, and the assessment by the Director of U.S. National Intelligence apparently is not yet complete. However, with the pile of evidence and documents in the Panama Papers and in the hands of independent investigators such as those cited by Dawisha, Polygraph.info finds that Danilov’s claim that Western intelligence agencies have not been able to find evidence of Putin’s wealth to be misleadingâ€”â€‰Polygraph.info, “Are â€˜Putin’s Billionsâ€™ a Myth?”
In April 2016, 11 million documents belonging to Panamanian law firmÂ Mossack FonsecaÂ wereÂ leakedÂ to the German newspaperÂ SÃ¼ddeutsche ZeitungÂ and theÂ Washington-basedÂ International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The name of Vladimir Putin does not appear in any of the records, and Putin denied his involvement with the company.Â However, various media have reported on three of Putin’s associates on the list.Â According to theÂ Panama PapersÂ leak, close trustees of Putin own offshore companies worth US$2Â billion in total.Â The German newspaperÂ SÃ¼ddeutsche ZeitungÂ regards the possibility of Putin’s family profiting from this money as plausible.
According to the paper, the US$2Â billion had been “secretly shuffled through banks and shadow companies linked to Putin’s associates”, such as construction billionairesÂ ArkadyÂ andÂ Boris Rotenberg, andÂ Bank Rossiya, previously identified by the U.S. State Department as being treated by Putin as his personal bank account, had been central in facilitating this. It concludes that “Putin has shown he is willing to take aggressive steps to maintain secrecy and protect [such] communal assets.”Â A significant proportion of the money trail leads to Putin’s best friendÂ Sergei Roldugin. Although a musician, and in his own words, not a businessman, it appears he has accumulated assets valued at $100m, and possibly more. It has been suggested he was picked for the role because of his low profile.Â There have been speculations that Putin, in fact, owns the funds,Â and Roldugin just acted as a proxy. Putin himself denied it,Â and his press-secretary,Â Dmitry Peskov, said the leak was a conspiracy aimed at Putin.
Official government residences
As president and prime-minister, Putin has lived in numerous official residences throughout the country.Â These residences include: theÂ Moscow Kremlin,Â Novo-OgaryovoÂ inÂ Moscow Oblast, theÂ White House in Moscow,Â Gorki-9Â [ru]Â near Moscow,Â Bocharov RucheyÂ inÂ Sochi,Â Dolgiye BorodyÂ [ru]Â inÂ Novgorod Oblast, and Riviera in Sochi.
In August 2012, critics of President Vladimir Putin listed the ownership of 20 villas and palaces, nine of which were built during Putin’s 12 years in power.
Soon after Putin returned from his KGB service in Dresden, East Germany, he built aÂ dachaÂ in Solovyovka on the eastern shore of Lake Komsomolskoye on theÂ Karelian IsthmusÂ inÂ Priozersky DistrictÂ ofÂ Leningrad Oblast, near St. Petersburg. After the dacha burned down in 1996, Putin built a new one identical to the original and was joined by a group of seven friends who built dachas nearby. In 1996, the group formally registered their fraternity as aÂ co-operativeÂ society, calling itÂ OzeroÂ (“Lake”) and turning it into aÂ gated community.
A massive Italianate-style mansion costing an alleged US$1Â billionÂ 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, and 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.[by whom?]Â In 2012,Â Sergei Kolesnikov, a former business associate of Putin’s, told the BBC’sÂ NewsnightÂ programme that he had been ordered by Deputy Prime MinisterÂ Igor SechinÂ to oversee the building of the palace.Â Putin’s spokesmanÂ Dmitry PeskovÂ dismissed Kolesnikov’s allegations against Putin as untrue, saying that “Putin has never had any relationship to this palace.”
Putin has four dogs, Buffy, Yume, Verni and Pasha. Buffy, aÂ Karakachan dog, was given to President Putin in November 2010 by the Bulgarian Prime Minister,Â Boyko Borisov. Yume is anÂ Akita InuÂ dog which arrived in Moscow in July 2012 as a three-month-old puppy as theÂ Akita Prefecture‘s gift to show gratitude for Russia’s assistance to Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011.Â Verni, which is an Alabai â€“ a Turkmen-bred variety of the Central Asia shepherd dog â€“ was a birthday gift from the leader of Turkmenistan during a meeting in Sochi in October 2017.Â Putin received Pasha, aÂ Å arplaninacÂ puppy as a gift fromÂ SerbiaÂ during his state visit in January 2019.
Putin isÂ Russian Orthodox. His mother was a devoted Christian believer who attended the Russian Orthodox Church, while his father was anÂ atheist.Â Though his mother kept noÂ iconsÂ at home, she attended church regularly, despite government persecution of her religion at that time. His mother secretly baptized him as a baby, and she regularly took him to services.
According to Putin, his religious awakening began after a serious car crash involving his wife in 1993, and a life-threatening fire that burned down theirÂ dachaÂ in August 1996.Â Shortly before an official visit to Israel, Putin’s mother gave him his baptismal cross, telling him to get it blessed. Putin states, “I did as she said and then put the cross around my neck. I have never taken it off since.”Â When asked in 2007 whether he believes in God, he responded, “… 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 likeÂ self-advertisingÂ or a politicalÂ striptease.”Â Putin’s rumouredÂ confessorÂ is Russian Orthodox BishopÂ Tikhon Shevkunov.
Putin began training inÂ samboÂ at the age of fourteen, before switching toÂ judo, which he continues to practice.Â Putin won competitions in both sports inÂ LeningradÂ (now Saint Petersburg). Putin was awarded eighthÂ danÂ of theÂ black beltÂ in 2012, becoming the first Russian to achieve the status.Â Putin also practisesÂ karate.
Putin co-authored a book entitledÂ Judo with Vladimir PutinÂ in Russian, andÂ Judo: History, Theory, PracticeÂ in English (2004).Â Benjamin Wittes, a black belt in taekwondo and aikido and editor ofÂ Lawfare, has disputed Putin’s martial arts skills, stating that there is no video evidence of Putin displaying any actual noteworthy judo skills.
Civilian awards presented by different countries
|7 March 2001||Vietnam||Order of Ho Chi Minh||Vietnam’s second highest distinction|
|2004||Kazakhstan||Order of the Golden Eagle||Kazakhstan’s highest distinction|
|2006||Muslim Board of the Caucasus||Order ofÂ Sheikh ul-Islam||Allahshukur Pasha-zade||Highest Muslim order,Â awarded for his role in interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Christians in the region|
|22 September 2006||France||LÃ©gion d’honneur||PresidentÂ Jacques Chirac||Grand-CroixÂ (Grand Cross) rank is the highest French decoration|
|2007||Tajikistan||Order of Ismoili Somoni||Tajikistan’s highest distinction|
|12 February 2007||Saudi Arabia||Order of Abdulaziz al Saud||King Abdullah||Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian award|
|10 September 2007||UAE||Order of Zayed||Sheikh Khalifa||UAE’s highest civil decoration|
|2 April 2010||Venezuela||Order of the Liberator||PresidentÂ Hugo ChÃ¡vez||Venezuela’s highest distinction|
|24 March 2011||Serbian Orthodox Church||Order of Saint Sava||Irinej, Serbian Patriarch||SOC’s highest distinction|
|4 October 2013||Monaco||Order of Saint-Charles||Prince Albert||Monaco’s highest decoration|
|11 July 2014||Cuba||Order of JosÃ© MartÃ||PresidentÂ RaÃºl Castro||Cuba’s highest decoration|
|16 October 2014||Serbia||Order of the Republic of Serbia||PresidentÂ Tomislav NikoliÄ‡||Grand Collar, Serbia’s highest award|
|3 October 2017||Turkmenistan||Order “For contribution to the development of cooperation”||PresidentÂ Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow|
|22 November 2017||Kyrgyzstan||Order of Manas||PresidentÂ Almazbek Atambayev|
|8 June 2018||China||Order of Friendship||PresidentÂ Xi Jinping||People’s Republic of China’s highest order of honour|
|28 May 2019||Kazakhstan||Order of Nazarbayev||ElbasyÂ Nursultan Nazarbayev|
|2001||Yerevan State University|
|2011||University of Belgrade|
|15 November 2011||Confucius Peace Prize||TheÂ ChinaÂ International Peace Research Centre awarded theÂ Confucius Peace PrizeÂ to Putin, citing as reason Putin’s opposition toÂ NATO’s Libya bombingÂ in 2011 while also paying tribute to his decision to go to war inÂ Chechnya in 1999.Â 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”.|
|2015||Angel of Peace Medal||Pope FrancisÂ presented Putin with the Angel of Peace Medal,Â which is a customary gift to presidents visiting the Vatican.|
|2007||Time:Â Person of the Year||“His final year as Russia’s president has been his most successful yet. At home, he secured his political future. Abroad, he expanded his outsizeâ€”if not always benignâ€”influence on global affairs.”|
|December 2007||Expert:Â Person of the Year||A Russian business-oriented weekly magazine named Putin as itsÂ Person of the Year.|
|5 October 2008||Vladimir Putin AvenueÂ [ru]||The central street ofÂ Grozny, the capital of Russia’sÂ Republic of Chechnya, was renamed from the Victory Avenue to theÂ Vladimir Putin AvenueÂ [ru], as ordered by theÂ Chechen PresidentÂ Ramzan Kadyrov.|
|February 2011||Vladimir Putin Peak||The parliament ofÂ KyrgyzstanÂ named a peak inÂ Tian ShanÂ mountainsÂ Vladimir Putin Peak.|