|Nick Name:||VVP, Volodoya, Vova, Grey Cardinal|
|Height:||168 cm (5' 7'')|
|Birth Day:||October 7, 1952|
|Birth Place:||Saint Petersburg, Russia|
|#5||Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin||Father||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#6||Lyudmila Aleksandrovna Ocheretnaya||Former spouse||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#7||Spiridon Ivanovich Putin||Grandfather||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#8||Elizaveta Alekseevna Shelomova||Grandmother||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#9||Olga Ivanovna Putina||Grandmother||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#10||Andrey Alekseyevich Shelomov||Great-grandfather||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#11||Ivan Petrovich Putin||Great-grandfather||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#12||Maria Ivanovna Shelomova||Mother||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#13||Lyudmila Putina||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||62||Political Wife|
|#14||Anastasia Mikhailovna Shelomova||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|168 cm (5' 7'')||71 kg||Salt & Pepper||Blue||N/A||N/A|
In 1975, he graduated from the Leningrad State University with a law degree before becoming an officer in the KGB, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during his 16 years of service.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born on 7 October 1952 in Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (now Saint Petersburg, Russia), the youngest of three children of Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin (1911–1999) and Maria Ivanovna Putina (née Shelomova; 1911–1998). Vladimir Spiridonovich's father was a cook to Vladimir Lenin. 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 of diphtheria during the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi Germany's forces in World War II. Putin's mother was a factory worker and his father was a conscript in the Soviet Navy, serving in the submarine fleet in the early 1930s. Early in World War II, his father served in the destruction battalion of the NKVD. Later, he was transferred to the regular army and was severely wounded in 1942. Putin's maternal grandmother was killed by the German occupiers of Tver region in 1941, and his maternal uncles disappeared on the Eastern Front during World War II.
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 the Young Pioneer organization. At age 12, he began to practice sambo and judo. He is a Judo black belt and national master of sports in Sambo. He wished to emulate the intelligence officers portrayed in Soviet cinema. Putin studied German at Saint Petersburg High School 281 and speaks German fluently.
Putin studied Law at the Leningrad State University named after Andrei Zhdanov (now Saint Petersburg State University) in 1970 and graduated in 1975. His thesis was on "The Most Favored Nation Trading Principle in International Law". While there, he was required to join the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and remained a member until it ceased to exist (it was outlawed in August 1991). Putin met Anatoly Sobchak, an assistant professor who taught business law, and later became the co-author of the Russian constitution and of the corruption schemes persecuted in France. Putin would be influential in Sobchak's career in Saint-Petersburg. Sobchak would be influential in Putin's career in Moscow.
In 1975, Putin joined the KGB and trained at the 401st KGB school in Okhta, Leningrad. After training, he worked in the Second Chief Directorate (counter-intelligence), before he was transferred to the First Chief Directorate, where he monitored foreigners and consular officials in Leningrad. In September 1984, Putin was sent to Moscow for further training at the Yuri Andropov Red Banner Institute. From 1985 to 1990, he served in Dresden, East Germany, using a cover identity as a translator. 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". According to a later controversial anonymous source cited by journalist Catherine Belton, Putin was allegedly involved in Soviet support for the West German terrorist Red Army Faction (mainly active in the 1970s, not in the end of 1980s) during this time, though his residence in Dresden was absolutely non-suitable for such activities and his own activities were focused on South-East Asia because of his previous connections to such foreigners in the USSR. His German was not good enough to meet RAF those times. He met Germans to be recruited for wireless communications affairs together with an interpreter. He was involved in wireless communications technologies in South-East Asia due to trips of German engineers, recruited by him, there and to the West. According to Putin's official biography, during the fall of the Berlin Wall that began on 9 November 1989, just he had saved the files of the Soviet Cultural Center (House of Friedship) and of KGB villa in Dresden for the official authorities of the would-be united Germany to prevent demonstrators, including KGB and Stasi agents, from obtaining and destroying them. He then supposedly burnt only those files, that were KGB ones, in a few hours, but saved archives of the Soviet Cultural Center for the German authorities. Nothing is told about selection criteria during burning, Stasi files and about files of other agencies of German Democratic republic and of the USSR. He explained that many documents were left to Germany only because the furnace burst. But many documents of the KGB villa were sent to Moscow.
On 28 July 1983, Putin married Lyudmila Shkrebneva, and they lived together in East Germany from 1985 to 1990. They have two daughters, Mariya Putina, born 28 April 1985 in Leningrad, and Yekaterina Putina, born 31 August 1986 in Dresden, East Germany.
After the collapse of the Communist East German government, Putin was to resign from active KGB service because of suspicions aroused regarding his loyalty during demonstrations in Dresden and earlier, though the KGB and the Soviet army still operated in Germany, and he returned to Leningrad in early 1990, where he worked for about three months with the International Affairs section of Leningrad State University, reporting to Vice-Rector Yuriy Molchanov. There, he looked for new KGB recruits, watched the student body, and renewed his friendship with his former professor, Anatoly Sobchak, soon to be the Mayor of Leningrad. Putin claims that he resigned with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on 20 August 1991, on the second day of the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt against the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. 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".
In May 1990, Putin was appointed as an advisor on international affairs to the Mayor of Leningrad Anatoly Sobchak. In a 2017 interview with 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 the Mayor's Office, with responsibility for promoting international relations and foreign investments and registering business ventures. Within a year, Putin was investigated by the city legislative council led by Marina Salye. It was concluded that he had understated prices and permitted the export of metals valued at $93 million in exchange for foreign food aid that never arrived. Despite the investigators' recommendation that Putin be fired, Putin remained head of the Committee for External Relations until 1996. From 1994 to 1996, he held several other political and governmental positions in Saint Petersburg.
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 their dacha in August 1996. 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." 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 like self-advertising or a political striptease." Putin's rumoured confessor is Russian Orthodox Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov. However, the sincerity of his Christianity has been rejected by his former advisor Sergei Pugachev.
In March 1994, Putin was appointed as First Deputy Chairman of the Government of Saint Petersburg. In May 1995, he organized the Saint Petersburg branch of the pro-government Our Home – Russia political party, the liberal party of power founded by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. In 1995, he managed the legislative election campaign for that party, and from 1995 through June 1997, he was the leader of its Saint Petersburg branch.
In June 1996, Sobchak lost his bid for reelection in Saint Petersburg, and Putin who had led his election campaign, refused from joining the team of his successor after this loss. He moved to Moscow and was appointed as Deputy Chief of the Presidential Property Management Department headed by 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 and Communist Party to the Russian Federation.
Soon after Putin returned from his KGB service in Dresden, East Germany, he built a dacha in Solovyovka on the eastern shore of Lake Komsomolskoye on the Karelian Isthmus in Priozersky District of 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 a co-operative society, calling it Ozero ("Lake") and turning it into a gated community.
On 26 March 1997, President Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin deputy chief of the Presidential Staff, a post which he retained until May 1998, and chief of the Main Control Directorate of the Presidential Property Management Department (until June 1998). His predecessor in this position was Alexei Kudrin and his successor was Nikolai Patrushev, both future prominent politicians and Putin's associates.
On 27 June 1997, at the Saint Petersburg Mining Institute, guided by rector Vladimir Litvinenko, Putin defended his Candidate of Science dissertation in economics, titled "The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations". This exemplified the custom in Russia whereby a young rising official wrote a scholarly work in mid-career. When Putin later became president, the dissertation became a target of plagiarism accusations by fellows at the Brookings Institution; although the dissertation was referenced, the Brookings fellows asserted that it constituted plagiarism albeit perhaps unintentional. The dissertation committee refuted the accusations.
On 25 May 1998, Putin was appointed First Deputy Chief of the Presidential Staff for the regions, in succession to Viktoriya Mitina; and, on 15 July, he was appointed head of the commission for the preparation of agreements on the delimitation of the power of the regions and head of 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 46 such agreements had been signed. Later, after becoming president, Putin cancelled all 46 agreements.
On 25 July 1998, Yeltsin appointed Putin Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the primary intelligence and security organization of the Russian Federation and the successor to the KGB.
In 1999, Putin described communism as "a blind alley, far away from the mainstream of civilization".
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. 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 31 December 1999, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned and, according to the Constitution of Russia, Putin became Acting President of the Russian Federation. On assuming this role, Putin went on a previously scheduled visit to Russian troops in Chechnya.
The first Presidential Decree that Putin signed, on 31 December 1999, was titled "On guarantees for the former president of the Russian Federation and the members of his family". This ensured that "corruption charges against the outgoing President and his relatives" would not be pursued. This was most notably targeted at the Mabetex bribery case in which Yeltsin's family members were involved. On 30 August 2000, a criminal investigation (number 18/238278-95) in which Putin himself, as a member of the Saint Petersburg city government, was one of the suspects was dropped. On 30 December 2000, yet another case against the prosecutor general was dropped "for lack of evidence", despite thousands of documents having been passed by Swiss prosecutors. On 12 February 2001, Putin signed a similar federal law which replaced the decree of 1999. A case regarding Putin's alleged corruption in metal exports from 1992 was brought back by 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 the presidential elections being held within three months, on 26 March 2000; Putin won in the first round with 53% of the vote.
The inauguration of President Putin occurred on 7 May 2000. Putin appointed the Minister of Finance, Mikhail Kasyanov, as the Prime Minister.
The first major challenge to Putin's popularity came in August 2000, when he was criticized for the alleged mishandling of the Kursk submarine disaster. 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 the 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 for—and alignment with—Putin's government.
Putin's domestic policies, particularly early in his first presidency, were aimed at creating a vertical power structure. On 13 May 2000, he issued a decree putting the 89 federal subjects of Russia into seven administrative federal districts and appointed a presidential envoy responsible for each of those districts (whose official title is Plenipotentiary Representative).
In July 2000, according to a law proposed by Putin and approved by the Federal Assembly of Russia, Putin gained the right to dismiss the heads of the 89 federal subjects. In 2004, the direct election of those heads (usually called "governors") by popular vote was replaced with a system whereby they would be nominated by the president and approved or disapproved by regional legislatures. 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. 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. In 2012, as proposed by Putin's successor, Dmitry Medvedev, the direct election of governors was re-introduced.
Sergey Guriyev when talking about Putin's economic policy, divided it into four distinct periods: the "reform" years of his first term (1999–2003); the "statist" years of his second term (2004 – the first half of 2008); the world economic crisis and recovery (the second half of 2008–2013); and the Russo-Ukrainian War, Russia’s growing isolation from the global economy, and stagnation (2014–present). In 2000, Putin launched the "Programme for the Socio-Economic Development of the Russian Federation for the Period 2000-2010", but it was abandoned in 2008 when it was 30% complete.
Putin's Russia maintains positive relations with other BRIC countries. The country has sought to strengthen ties especially with the People's Republic of China by signing the Treaty of Friendship as well as building the Trans-Siberian oil pipeline and Trans-Siberian gas pipeline geared toward growing Chinese energy needs. The mutual-security cooperation of the two countries and their central Asian neighbours is facilitated by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
The Moscow theater hostage crisis occurred in October 2002. 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 crisis would severely damage President Putin's popularity. However, shortly after the siege had ended, the Russian president enjoyed record public approval ratings—83% of Russians declared themselves satisfied with Putin and his handling of the siege.
In 2003, a referendum was held in 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. Chechnya has been gradually stabilized with the establishment of the Parliamentary elections and a Regional Government. Throughout the Second Chechen War, Russia severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement; however, sporadic attacks by rebels continued to occur throughout the northern Caucasus.
A series of so-called colour revolutions in the post-Soviet states, namely the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 and the Tulip Revolution 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".
From 2003, when Russia did not support the Iraq War and when Putin became ever more distant from the West in his internal and external policies, relations continued to deteriorate. According to Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen, the narrative of the mainstream U.S. media, following that of the White House, became anti-Putin. In an interview with Michael Stürmer, Putin said there were three questions which most concerned Russia and Eastern Europe: namely, the status of Kosovo, the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and American plans to build missile defence sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, and suggested that all three were linked. His view was that concessions by the West on one of the questions might be met with concessions from Russia on another.
In 2003, relations between Russia and the United Kingdom deteriorated when the United Kingdom granted political asylum to Putin's former patron, oligarch Boris Berezovsky. This deterioration was intensified by allegations that the British were spying and making secret payments to pro-democracy and human rights groups.
The end of 2006 brought more strained relations in the wake of the death by polonium poisoning of former KGB and FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko in London, who became an MI6 agent in 2003. In 2007, the crisis in relations continued with expulsion of four Russian envoys over Russia's refusal to extradite former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi to face charges in the murder of Litvinenko. Mirroring the British actions, Russia expelled UK diplomats and took other retaliatory steps.
On 14 March 2004, Putin was elected to the presidency for a second term, receiving 71% of the vote. The Beslan school hostage crisis took place in September 2004; more than 330 people died, including 186 children.
In 2004, President Putin signed the Kyoto Protocol treaty designed to reduce greenhouse gases. 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.
Russia has suffered democratic backsliding during Putin's tenure. Freedom House has listed Russia as being "not free" since 2005. 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. 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." The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Russia as "authoritarian" since 2011, whereas it had previously been considered a "hybrid regime" (with "some form of democratic government" in place) as late as 2007. According to political scientist, Larry Diamond, writing in 2015, "no serious scholar would consider Russia today a democracy".
The near 10-year period prior to the rise of Putin after the dissolution of Soviet rule was a time of upheaval in Russia. In a 2005 Kremlin speech, Putin characterized the collapse of the Soviet Union as the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the Twentieth Century." Putin elaborated "Moreover, the epidemic of disintegration infected Russia itself." The country's cradle-to-grave social safety net was gone and life expectancy declined in the period preceding Putin's rule. In 2005, the National Priority Projects were launched to improve Russia's health care, education, housing and agriculture.
On 7 October 2006, Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist who exposed corruption in the Russian army and its conduct in 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. Putin himself said that her death caused the government more problems than her writings.
In 2006, Putin launched an industry consolidation programme to bring the main aircraft producing companies under a single umbrella organization, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). UAC general director in September 2020 announced, that UAC will receive largest Post soviet government support package for the aircraft industry to pay and renegotiate the debt. UAC owes banks around 530 billion rubles.
In 2007, "Dissenters' Marches" were organized by the opposition group The Other Russia, led by former chess champion Garry Kasparov and national-Bolshevist leader 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 Minister Mikhail Fradkov. Fradkov commented that it was to give the President a "free hand" in the run-up to the parliamentary election. Viktor Zubkov was appointed the new prime minister.
In December 2007, United Russia won 64.24% of the popular vote in their run for State Duma according to election preliminary results. 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.
The resumption of long-distance flights of Russia's strategic bombers was followed by the announcement by Russian Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov during his meeting with Putin on 5 December 2007, that 11 ships, including the aircraft carrier Kuznetsov, would take part in the first major navy sortie into the Mediterranean since Soviet times.
Putin has also sought to increase Russian territorial claims in the Arctic and its military presence here. In August 2007, Russian expedition Arktika 2007, part of research related to the 2001 Russian territorial extension claim, planted a flag on the seabed below the North Pole. Both Russian submarines and troops deployed in the Arctic have been increasing.
In 2007, Putin led a successful effort on behalf of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Winter Paralympics, the first Winter Olympic Games to ever be hosted by Russia. Likewise, in 2008, the city of Kazan won the bid for the 2013 Summer Universiade, and on 2 December 2010 Russia won the right to host the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 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.
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 that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race". This came to be known as the Munich Speech, and former NATO secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called the speech "disappointing and not helpful." The months following Putin's Munich Speech 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 new Cold War. Putin publicly opposed plans for the U.S. missile shield in Europe and presented President George W. Bush with a counterproposal on 7 June 2007 which was declined. Russia suspended its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty on 11 December 2007.
In September 2007, Putin visited Indonesia and in doing so became the first Russian leader to visit the country in more than 50 years. In the same month, Putin also attended the APEC meeting held in Sydney where he met with John Howard, who was the Australian Prime Minister 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.
On 16 October 2007, Putin visited Iran to participate in the Second Caspian Summit in Tehran, where he met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This was the first visit of a Soviet or Russian leader to Iran since Joseph Stalin's participation in the Tehran Conference in 1943, and thus marked a significant event in Iran-Russia relations. 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".
Putin cultivates an outdoor, sporty, tough guy public image, demonstrating his physical prowess and taking part in unusual or dangerous acts, such as extreme sports and interaction with wild animals, part of a public relations approach that, according to Wired, "deliberately cultivates the macho, take-charge superhero image". For example, in 2007, the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda published a huge photograph of a shirtless Putin vacationing in the Siberian mountains under the headline: "Be Like Putin." Some of the activities have been criticised for being staged. Outside of Russia, his macho image has been the subject of parody. Putin is believed to be self-conscious about his height, which has been estimated by Kremlin insiders at between 155 cm (5 ft 2 in) and 165 cm (5 ft 5 in) tall but is usually given at 170 cm (5 ft 7 in).
In 2007, he was the Time Person of the Year. In 2015, he was No. 1 on the Time's Most Influential People List. Forbes ranked him the World's Most Powerful Individual every year from 2013 to 2016. He was ranked the second most powerful individual by Forbes in 2018.
Putin was barred from a third consecutive term by the Constitution. First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was elected his successor. In a power-switching operation on 8 May 2008, only a day after handing the presidency to Medvedev, Putin was appointed Prime Minister of Russia, maintaining his political dominance.
While from the early 2000s Russia started placing more money into its military and defense industry, it was only in 2008 that the full-scale Russian military reform began, aiming to modernize the Russian Armed Forces and making them significantly more effective. The reform was largely carried out by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov 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.
Putin allegedly declared at a NATO-Russia summit in 2008 that if Ukraine joined NATO Russia could contend to annex the Ukrainian East and Crimea. At the summit, he told US President George W. Bush that "Ukraine is not even a state!" while the following year Putin referred to Ukraine as "Little Russia". Following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution in March 2014, the Russian Federation annexed Crimea. According to Putin, this was done because "Crimea has always been and remains an inseparable part of Russia". After the Russian annexion of Crimea, he said that Ukraine includes "regions of Russia's historic south" and "was created on a whim by the Bolsheviks". He went on to declare that the February 2014 ousting of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych 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, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites". In a July 2014 speech midst an armed insurgency in Eastern Ukraine, Putin stated he would use Russia's "entire arsenal" and "the right of self defence" to protect Russian speakers outside Russia. 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 August 2008, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili attempted to restore control over the breakaway South Ossetia. However, the Georgian military was soon defeated in the resulting 2008 South Ossetia War after regular Russian forces entered South Ossetia and then Georgia proper, then also opened a second front in the other Georgian breakaway province of Abkhazia with Abkhazian forces.
Putin and his successor, Medvedev, enjoyed warm relations with the late Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. Much of this has been through the sale of military equipment; since 2005, Venezuela has purchased more than $4 billion worth of arms from Russia. In September 2008, Russia sent Tupolev Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela to carry out training flights. In November 2008, both countries held a joint naval exercise in the Caribbean. Earlier in 2000, Putin had re-established stronger ties with Fidel Castro's Cuba.
In April 2008, Putin became the first Russian President who visited Libya. Putin condemned the foreign military intervention of Libya, he called UN resolution as "defective and flawed," and added "It allows everything. It resembles medieval calls for crusades." Upon the death of Muammar Gaddafi, Putin called it as "planned murder" by the US, saying: "They showed to the whole world how he (Gaddafi) was killed," and "There was blood all over. Is that what they call a democracy?"
In April 2008, the Moskovsky Korrespondent reported that Putin had divorced Shkrebneva and was engaged to marry rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva. The story was denied and the newspaper was shut down shortly thereafter. Putin and Shkrebneva continued to make public appearances together as spouses, while the status of his relationship with Kabaeva became a topic of speculation. In the subsequent years, there were frequent reports that Putin and Kabaeva had multiple children together, although these reports were denied.
At the United Russia 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 the parliamentary elections on 4 December 2011, tens of thousands of Russians engaged in protests against alleged electoral fraud, the largest protests in Putin's time. Protesters criticized Putin and United Russia and demanded annulment of the election results. Those protests sparked the fear of a colour revolution in society. Putin allegedly organized a number of paramilitary groups loyal to himself and to the United Russia party in the period between 2005 and 2012.
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. 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".
The number of Russia's military districts was reduced to four. The term of draft service was reduced from two years to one. 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. The Russian Space Forces were replaced on 1 December 2011 with the Russian Aerospace Defence 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 a Eurasian Union in 2011; the concept was proposed by the President of Kazakhstan in 1994. On 18 November 2011, the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed an agreement setting a target of establishing the Eurasian Union by 2015. The Eurasian Union was established on 1 January 2015.
Putin had good relations with former American President George W. Bush, and many European leaders. His "cooler" and "more business-like" relationship with Germany's current chancellor, Angela Merkel is often attributed to Merkel's upbringing in the former DDR, where Putin was stationed as a KGB agent. He had a very friendly and warm relationship with the former Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi; the two leaders often described their relationship as a close friendship, continuing to organize bilateral meetings even after Berlusconi's resignation in November 2011.
On 4 March 2012, Putin won the 2012 Russian presidential elections in the first round, with 63.6% of the vote, despite widespread accusations of vote-rigging. Opposition groups accused Putin and the United Russia party of fraud. While efforts to make the elections transparent were publicized, including the usage of webcams in polling stations, the vote was criticized by the Russian opposition and by international observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe for procedural irregularities.
Putin's presidency was inaugurated in the Kremlin on 7 May 2012. On his first day as president, Putin issued 14 Presidential decrees, which are sometimes called the "May Decrees" by the media, including a lengthy one stating wide-ranging goals for the Russian economy. Other decrees concerned education, housing, skilled labor training, relations with the European Union, the 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 the LGBT community, in Saint Petersburg, Archangelsk and Novosibirsk; a law called the Russian gay propaganda law, that is against "homosexual propaganda" (which prohibits such symbols as the rainbow flag as well as published works containing homosexual content) was adopted by the State Duma in June 2013. 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 the 2014 Winter Olympics should "leave the children in peace" but denied there was any "professional, career or social discrimination" against homosexuals in Russia.
A fund for oil revenue allowed Russia to repay all of the Soviet Union's debts by 2005. Russia joined the World Trade Organization on 22 August 2012.
Buddhism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Islam and Judaism 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. In 2012, Putin was honored in Bethlehem and a street was named after him.
Scott Gehlbach, an American Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has claimed that since 1999, Putin has reportedly punished journalists who challenge his official point of view. Maria Lipman, an American writing in Foreign Affairs (the journal of the 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." The Internet has attracted Putin's attention because his critics have tried to use it to challenge his control of information. Marian K. Leighton, who worked for the CIA as a Soviet analyst in the 1980s says, "Having muzzled Russia's print and broadcast media, Putin focused his energies on the Internet." Robert W. Orttung and Christopher Walker report:
Putin has promoted explicitly conservative policies in social, cultural, and political matters, both at home and abroad. Putin has attacked globalism and neo-liberalism and is identified by scholars with Russian conservatism. Putin has promoted new think tanks that bring together like-minded intellectuals and writers. For example, the Izborsky Club, founded in 2012 by the conservative right-wing journalist Alexander Prokhanov, stresses (i) Russian nationalism, (ii) the restoration of Russia's historical greatness, and (iii) systematic opposition to liberal ideas and policies. 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 the Russian Orthodox Church. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, head of the Church, endorsed his election in 2012 stating Putin's terms were like "a miracle of God." 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."
In 2012, Putin wrote an article in the Hindu newspaper, saying that "The Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and Russia signed in October 2000 became a truly historic step". Prime Minister Manmohan Singh 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 opposed any foreign intervention. In June 2012, in Paris, he rejected the statement of French President François Hollande who called on Bashar Al-Assad to step down. Putin echoed Assad's argument that anti-regime militants 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".
Official figures released during the legislative election of 2007 put Putin's wealth at approximately 3.7 million rubles (US$150,000) in bank accounts, a private 77.4-square-meter (833 sq ft) apartment in Saint Petersburg, and miscellaneous other assets. Putin's reported 2006 income totaled 2 million rubles (approximately $80,000). In 2012, Putin reported an income of 3.6 million rubles ($113,000).
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.
A massive Italianate-style mansion costing an alleged US$1 billion and dubbed "Putin's Palace" is under construction near the Black Sea village of Praskoveevka. The mansion, built on government land and sporting 3 helipads, 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. In 2012, Sergei Kolesnikov, a former business associate of Putin's, told the BBC's Newsnight programme that he had been ordered by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin to oversee the building of the palace. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed Kolesnikov's allegations against Putin as untrue, saying that "Putin has never had any relationship to this palace."
Putin has been practicing judo since he was 11 years old, before switching to sambo at the age of fourteen. He won competitions in both sports in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg). He was awarded eighth dan of the black belt in 2012, becoming the first Russian to achieve the status. Putin also practises karate.
In June 2013, Putin attended a televised rally of the All-Russia People's Front where he was elected head of the movement, which was set up in 2011. According to journalist Steve Rosenberg, the movement is intended to "reconnect the Kremlin to the Russian people" and one day, if necessary, replace the increasingly unpopular United Russia party that currently backs Putin.
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 to Edward Snowden, who had leaked classified information from the NSA.
On 11 September 2013, The New York Times published an op-ed by Putin urging caution against US intervention in Syria and criticizing American exceptionalism. Putin subsequently helped to arrange for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons. In 2015, he took a stronger pro-Assad stance and mobilized military support for the regime. Some analysts have summarized Putin as being allied with Shiites and Alawites in the Middle East.
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. In January 2013, at the time of 2011–2013 Russian protests, Putin's approval rating fell to 62%, the lowest figure since 2000 and a ten-point drop over two years. By May 2014, following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and annexation of Crimea, Putin's approval rating had rebounded to 85.9%, a six-year high.
On 6 June 2013, Putin and Shkrebneva announced that their marriage was over, and, on 1 April 2014, the Kremlin confirmed that the divorce had been finalized. In 2015, Kabaeva reportedly gave birth to a daughter; Putin is alleged to be the father. In 2019, Kabaeva reportedly gave birth to twin boys by Putin.
The continued criminal prosecution of Russia's then richest man, President of Yukos oil and gas company Mikhail Khodorkovsky, for fraud and tax evasion was seen by the international press as a retaliation for Khodorkovsky's donations to both liberal and communist opponents of the Kremlin. 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 company Rosneft. The fate of Yukos was seen as a sign of a broader shift of Russia towards a system of state capitalism. This was underscored in July 2014 when shareholders of Yukos were awarded $50 billion in compensation by the Permanent Arbitration Court in The Hague.
In 2014, Russia made several military incursions into Ukrainian territory. After the Euromaidan protests and the fall of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, Russian soldiers without insignias took control of strategic positions and infrastructure within the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. Russia then annexed the Republic of Crimea and City of Sevastopol after a referendum in which Crimeans voted to join the Russian Federation, according to official results. Subsequently, demonstrations against Ukrainian Rada legislative actions by pro-Russian groups in the Donbass area of Ukraine escalated into an armed conflict between the Ukrainian government and the Russia-backed separatist forces of the self-declared Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. In August Russian military vehicles crossed the border in several locations of Donetsk Oblast. The incursion by the Russian military was seen by Ukrainian authorities 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. The Associated Press reported 80 unmarked military vehicles on the move in rebel-controlled areas. An OSCE Special Monitoring Mission observed convoys of heavy weapons and tanks in DPR-controlled territory without insignia. OSCE monitors further stated that they observed vehicles transporting ammunition and soldiers' dead bodies crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border under the guise of humanitarian-aid convoys. As of early August 2015, the OSCE observed over 21 such vehicles marked with the Russian military code for soldiers killed in action. According to The Moscow Times, Russia has tried to intimidate and silence human-rights workers discussing Russian soldiers' deaths in the conflict. The OSCE repeatedly reported that its observers were denied access to the areas controlled by "combined Russian-separatist forces".
The construction of a pipeline at a cost of $77 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-owned Gazprom to China's state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation for the next 30 years, in a deal worth $400bn.
In 2014, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project named Putin their Person of the Year Award for furthering corruption and organized crime.
Energy, trade, and finance agreements with China worth $25 billion were signed in October 2014 in an effort to compensate for international sanctions. The following year, a $400 billion 30-year natural gas supply agreement was also signed with China.
In 2014, Russia was suspended from the G8 group as a result of its annexation of Crimea. However, in June 2015, Putin told an Italian newspaper that Russia has no intention of attacking NATO.
After EU and U.S. sanctions against Russian officials as a result of the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine, Putin's approval rating reached 87 percent, according to a Levada Center survey published on 6 August 2014. In February 2015, based on new domestic polling, Putin was ranked the world's most popular politician. In June 2015, Putin's approval rating climbed to 89%, an all-time high. In 2016, the approval rating was 81%.
Critics state that Putin has moved Russia in an autocratic direction. Putin has been described as a "dictator" by political opponent Garry Kasparov, as a "bully" and "arrogant" by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and as "self-centered" and an "isolationist" by the Dalai Lama. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote in 2014 that the West has demonized Putin. Egon Krenz, former leader of East Germany, said the Cold War never ended and that, "After weak presidents like Gorbachev and Yeltsin, it is a great fortune for Russia that it has [President Vladimir] Putin."
Putin has received five dogs from various nation leaders, namely: Buffy, Yume, Verni, Pasha and Konni. Konni died in 2014. It is unknown what has happened to Putin’s two other dogs Tosya and Rodeo.
In October 2015, The Washington Post reported that Russia had redeployed some of its elite units from Ukraine to Syria in recent weeks to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In December 2015, Russian Federation President Putin admitted that Russian military intelligence officers were operating in Ukraine.
On 30 September 2015, President Putin authorized Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War, following a formal request by the Syrian government for military help against rebel and jihadist groups.
Many Russians credit Putin for reviving Russia's fortunes. Former Soviet Union leader 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 the Yeltsin years, and that Russians "must remember that Putin saved Russia from the beginning of a collapse." In 2015, opposition politician Boris Nemtsov said that Putin was turning Russia into a "raw materials colony" of China. Chechen Republic head and Putin supporter, Ramzan Kadyrov, states that Putin saved both the Chechen people and Russia.
There are many songs about Putin. Putin's name and image are widely used in advertisement and product branding. Among the Putin-branded products are Putinka vodka, the PuTin brand of canned food, the Gorbusha Putina caviar, 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.
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 the Syrian government, including the Syrian opposition, as well as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda in the Levant), Tahrir al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham and the Army of Conquest. 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, Russian forces deployed in Syria continued to actively operate in support of the Syrian government.
Under Putin, the Hasidic FJCR became increasingly influential within the Jewish community, partly due to the influence of Federation-supporting businessmen mediated through their alliances with Putin, notably Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovich. According to the JTA, Putin is popular amongst the Russian Jewish community, who see him as a force for stability. Russia's chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, said Putin "paid great attention to the needs of our community and related to us with a deep respect". In 2016, Ronald S. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, also praised Putin for making Russia "a country where Jews are welcome".
Mark Woods, a Baptist minister and contributing editor to Christian Today, provides specific examples of how the Church has backed the expansion of Russian power into Crimea and eastern Ukraine. More broadly, The New York Times reports in September 2016 how the Church's policy prescriptions support the Kremlin's appeal to social conservatives:
On 9 November 2016, Putin congratulated Donald Trump on becoming the 45th President of the United States.
In December 2016, US intelligence officials (headed by James Clapper) quoted by CBS News stated that Putin approved the email hacking and cyber attacks during the U.S. election, against the democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. A spokesman for Putin denied the reports. Putin has repeatedly accused Hillary Clinton, who served as U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, of interfering in Russia's internal affairs, and in December 2016, Clinton accused Putin of having a personal grudge against her.
In 2015–16, the British Government conducted an inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko. Its report was released in January 2016. 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 and books about 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 in The Guardian, criticised the inquiry as politically motivated, biased, lacking in evidence, and logically inconsistent.
Despite high approval for Putin, confidence in the Russian economy was 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. Putin's performance at reining in corruption is also unpopular among Russians. Newsweek 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 April 2016, 11 million documents belonging to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the Washington-based 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. However, various media have reported on three of Putin's associates on the list. According to the Panama Papers leak, close trustees of Putin own offshore companies worth US$2 billion in total. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung regards the possibility of Putin's family profiting from this money as plausible.
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. Both Trump and Putin has consistently denied any Russian interference in the U.S. election. The New York Times reported in July 2018 that the CIA 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. Suspected CIA's mole named as Oleg Smolenkov is now reported to be living in the United States.
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. However, Putin has stated that U.S.–Russian relations, already at the lowest level since the end of the Cold War, have continued to deteriorate after Trump took office in January 2017.
Putin won the 2018 presidential election with more than 76% of the vote. His fourth term began on 7 May 2018, which will last until 2024. On the same day, Putin invited Dmitry Medvedev to form a new government. On 15 May 2018, Putin took part in the opening of the movement along the highway section of the Crimean bridge. On 18 May 2018, Putin signed decrees on the composition of the new Government. On 25 May 2018, Putin announced that he would not run for president in 2024, justifying this in compliance with the Russian Constitution. On 14 June 2018, Putin opened the 21st FIFA World Cup, which took place in Russia for the first time.
On 4 March 2018, former double agent Sergei Skripal was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury. 10 days later, the British government formally accused the Russian state of attempted murder, a charge which Russia denied. After the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats (an action which would later be responded to with a Russian expulsion of 23 British diplomats), British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on 16 March that it was "overwhelmingly likely" Putin had personally ordered the poisoning of Skripal. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the allegation "shocking and unpardonable diplomatic misconduct".
In July 2018, Putin's approval rating fell to 63% and just 49% would vote for Putin if presidential elections were held. Levada poll results published in September 2018 showed Putin's personal trustworthiness levels at 39% (decline from 59% in November 2017) with the main contributing factor being the presidential support of the unpopular pension reform and economic stagnation. 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 attributed to decline of a popular belief in "good tsar and bad boyars", a traditional attitude towards justifying failures of top of ruling hierarchy in Russia.
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, United Russia's victory, also contributed to inciting mass protests for democracy, leading to large-scale arrests and cases of police brutality.
In October 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the United Arab Emirates, where six agreements were struck with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. One of them included shared investments between Russian sovereign wealth fund and the Emirati investment fund Mubadala. The two nations signed deals worth over $1.3bn, in energy, health and advance technology sectors.
In January 2019, the percentage of Russians trusting the president hit a then-historic minimum – 33.4%. It declined further to 31.7% in May 2019 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%. Nonetheless, in April 2019 Gallup poll showed a record number of Russians (20%) willing to permanently emigrate from Russia. The decline is even larger in the 17–25 age group, "who find themselves largely disconnected from the country's aging leadership, nostalgic Soviet rhetoric and nepotistic agenda", according to a report prepared by 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). 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.
On 15 January 2020, Dmitry Medvedev and his entire government resigned after Vladimir Putin's Address to the Federal Assembly. Putin suggested major constitutional amendments prior to his retirement in 2024. At the same time, on behalf of Putin, he continued to exercise his powers until the formation of a new government. The president suggested that Medvedev take the newly created post of Deputy Chairman of the Security Council.
On the same day, Putin nominated Mikhail Mishustin, head of the country's Federal Tax Service for the post of Prime Minister. The next day, he was confirmed by the State Duma to the post and appointed Prime Minister by Putin's decree. 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 his Cabinet. On the same day, the President signed a decree on the structure of the Cabinet and appointed the proposed Ministers.
On 15 March 2020, Putin instructed to form a Working Group of the State Council to counteract the spread of coronavirus. Putin appointed Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin as the head of the Group.
On 22 March 2020, after a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Putin arranged the Russian army to send military medics, special disinfection vehicles and other medical equipment to Italy, which was the European country hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 24 March 2020, Putin visited a hospital in Moscow's Kommunarka, where patients with coronavirus are kept, where he spoke with them and with doctors. Vladimir Putin began working remotely from his office at Novo-Ogaryovo. According to Dmitry Peskov, Putin passes daily tests for coronavirus, and his health is not in danger.
Putin signed an executive order on 3 July 2020 to officially insert amendments into the Russian Constitution. These amendments took effect on 4 July 2020.
On 18 June 2020, The National Interest published nine thousand words essay by Putin, titled 'The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II'. In the essay, Putin criticizes the western historical view of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact as the start of World War II, stating that the Munich Agreement was the beginning.
In May 2020, amid the COVID-19 crisis, Putin's approval rating was 67.9%, measured by VCIOM when respondents were presented a list of names, and 27% when respondents were expected to name politicians they trust. In a closed-question survey conducted by Levada, the approval rating was 59% which has been attributed to continued post-Crimea economic stagnation but also an apathetic response to the pandemic crisis in Russia.
Currently, Vladimir Putin is 68 years, 9 months and 28 days old. Vladimir Putin will celebrate 69th birthday on a Thursday 7th of October 2021.
Find out about Vladimir Putin birthday activities in timeline view here.