13 April 2014

About Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born on October 7, 1952 in St Petersburg, then known as Leningrad. He was raised as an only child; his two brothers died young, one shortly after birth, the other of diphtheria during World War II. Although it was officially prohibited by the Communist law, Putin was baptized in the Russian Orthodox faith. In his youth he was often called Putka. His father, Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin, was a factory foreman and died in August 1999 (his mother, Maria Ivanovna Putina, died six months earlier).

Mr Putin has good command of English and German and he is fond of sports, especially wrestling. He has been going in for sambo (a Russian style of self-defence) and judo since the age of 11. He won the sambo championships of St Petersburg many times and became Master of Sports first in sambo and later in judo. Putin doesn't smoke and he is not an excessive drinker.

Vladimir Putin is married to Lyudmila (1958) and has two daughters: Katya (1985) and Masha (1986). They were both born in Dresden, Germany and now attend an international school in Moscow. The Putins love animals; they own a white poodle called Tosca. Lyudmila is a graduate of the philological department of the Leningrad State University. After studying, she first worked as a stewardess in Kaliningrad and then as a schoolteacher. She speaks German, Spanish and French.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin studied law at State University in St Petersburg, then known as Leningrad. After graduating in 1975, he worked in the KGB's foreign intelligence service, mainly in Germany. He left the KGB in 1990 and became an ally of liberal Anatoly Sobchak, the mayor of St Petersburg, whom he met during his study. He first became Mr Sobchak's head of external relations and then served as deputy mayor from March 1994. When Mr Sobchak lost power in 1996 it was another liberal, deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, who recommended him for a job in the presidential administration. There he rose to be deputy chief-of-staff before being asked, in July 1998, to take charge of one of Russia's new security services, the Federal Security Bureau (FSB), replacing Nikolai Kovalyov. Subsequently, President Boris Yeltsin appointed him as head of the powerful Security Council. After Boris Yeltsin sacked Sergei Stepashin in August 1999, he became Russia's prime minister. On the last day of the 20th century, Boris Yeltsin resigned and appointed him as acting president. Presidential elections were held on March 26, 2000. Putin received 52.94 percent of all votes. The inauguration took place on May 7, 2000.

Until the presidential elections, Vladimir Putin had no experience of elected office. Putin was not renowned as a charismatic speaker - his nickname used to be the "grey cardinal". During recent summits though, he proved to be an excellent speaker indeed. He is said to be most popular among young people, Muscovites and educated people. His reputation is of a good chairman and organiser. Putin is a candidate of economic sciences (1996).

Boris Yeltsin introduced him to the Russian people by saying that "he will be able to unite around himself those who will revive Great Russia in the new, 21st century". Sergei Stepashin later described him as a "decent and honest man". Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, said that "he’s a decent, tough and energetic man who was out of public politics due to the specifics of his job". During a summit in June 2000, U.S. President Bill Clinton praised him for "surely being capable of creating a strong and prosperous Russia". After Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met with Mr Putin in August 2000, he told that "he's certainly no threat to the Russian democracy".
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