Vladimir Putin, President of Russia (re-elected on Mar 18, 2018)
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (born 7 October 1952) is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer who is the president of Russia, a position he has filled since 2012, and previously from 1999 until 2008. He was also the prime minister from 1999 to 2000, and again from 2008 to 2012. Putin is the second-longest current serving European president after Alexander Lukashenko.
On Feb 24, 2022 Putin started a war against Ukraine which he said was intended to “protect” the people of the Donbas from the “abuse” and “genocide” of the Ukrainian government. There is no evidence to support Putin’s claims! Since the start of the war thousands of innocent Ukrainians (hundreds of children) have been brutally killed.
Putin was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) and studied law at Leningrad State University, graduating in 1975. He worked as a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, before resigning in 1991 to begin a political career in Saint Petersburg. He moved to Moscow in 1996 to join the administration of president Boris Yeltsin. He briefly served as director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and secretary of the Security Council, before being appointed as prime minister in August 1999. After the resignation of Yeltsin, Putin became acting president, and less than four months later was elected outright to his first term as president and was reelected in 2004. As he was then constitutionally limited to two consecutive terms as president, Putin served as prime minister again from 2008 to 2012 under Dmitry Medvedev, and returned to the presidency in 2012 in an election marred by allegations of fraud and protests; he was reelected again in 2018. In April 2021, following a referendum, he signed into law constitutional amendments including one that would allow him to run for reelection twice more, potentially extending his presidency to 2036.
During Putin’s first tenure as president, the Russian economy grew for eight consecutive years, with GDP measured by purchasing power increasing by 72%; Russian self-assessed life satisfaction rose significantly. The growth was a result of a fivefold increase in the price of oil and gas, which constitute the majority of Russian exports, recovery from the post-communist depression and financial crises, a rise in foreign investment, and prudent economic and fiscal policies. Putin also led Russia to victory in the Second Chechen War. Serving as prime minister under Medvedev, he oversaw large-scale military reform and police reform, as well as Russia’s victory in the Russo-Georgian War. During his third term as president, falling oil prices coupled with international sanctions imposed at the beginning of 2014 after Russia launched a military intervention in Ukraine and annexed Crimea led to GDP shrinking by 3.7% in 2015, though the Russian economy rebounded in 2016 with 0.3% GDP growth. During his fourth term as president, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Russia, and Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, leading to further sanctions being imposed against Russia and him personally. Other developments under Putin have included the construction of oil and gas pipelines, the restoration of the satellite navigation system GLONASS, and the building of infrastructure for international events such as the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Under Putin’s leadership, Russia has shifted to authoritarianism. Experts do not consider Russia a democracy, citing the jailing and repression of political opponents, the intimidation and suppression of the free press and the lack of free and fair elections. Russia has scored poorly on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, and Freedom House’s Freedom in the World index.
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.
An investigation by Proekt Media published in November 2020 alleged that Putin has another daughter, Elizaveta (known as Luiza Rozova), born March 2003, with Svetlana Krivonogikh.
In April 2008, the Moskovsky Korrespondent reported that Putin had divorced Lyudmila and was engaged to marry Olympic gold medalist Alina Kabaeva, a former rhythmic gymnast and Russian politician. The story was denied and the newspaper was shut down shortly thereafter. Putin and Lyudmila 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 unsubstantiated reports that Putin and Kabaeva had multiple children together, although these reports were denied.
On 6 June 2013, Putin and Lyudmila announced that their marriage was over, and, on 1 April 2014, the Kremlin confirmed that the divorce had been finalised. In 2015, Kabaeva reportedly gave birth to a daughter; Putin is alleged to be the father. In 2019, Kabaeva reportedly gave birth to twin sons by Putin.
Putin has two grandsons, born in 2012 and 2017.
His cousin, Igor Putin, was a director at Moscow-based Master Bank and was accused in a number of money laundering scandals.
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).
Putin has been photographed wearing a number of expensive wristwatches, collectively valued at $700,000, nearly six times his annual salary. Putin has been known on occasion to give watches valued at thousands of dollars as gifts to peasants and factory workers.Putin’s close associate Arkady Rotenberg is mentioned in the Panama Papers.
According to Russian opposition politicians and journalists, Putin secretly possesses a multi-billion-dollar fortune via successive ownership of stakes in a number of Russian companies. According to one editorial in 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”. Russian RIA journalist argued that “[Western] intelligence agencies (…) could not find anything”. These contradictory claims were analyzed by Polygraph.info which looked at a number of reports by Western (Anders Åslund estimate of $100–160 billion) and Russian (Stanislav Belkovsky estimated of $40 billion) analysts, CIA (estimate of $40 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 misleading
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 trusted associates 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.
According to the paper, the US$2 billion had been “secretly shuffled through banks and shadow companies linked to Putin’s associates”, such as construction billionaires Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, and 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.” A significant proportion of the money trail leads to Putin’s best friend 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. There have been speculations that Putin, in fact, owns the funds,and Roldugin just acted as a proxy.
Garry Kasparov said, “[Putin] controls enough money, probably more than any other individual in the history of human race”.
Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, Former President of Russia
Born September 14, 1965, in Leningrad.
Graduated from the Faculty of Law of Leningrad State University in 1987 and completed his post-graduate studies at Leningrad State University in 1990. Holds a PhD in law and the title of associate professor.
1990-1999: Lectured at St Petersburg State University.
At the same time, between 1990-1995, was an adviser to the Chairman of the Leningrad City Council and an expert consultant to the St Petersburg City Hall’s Committee for External Affairs.
1999: Deputy Government Chief of Staff.
1999-2000: Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office.
2000-2003: First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office.
2000-2001: Chairman of the Board of Directors of OAO Gazprom, in 2001 – Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of OAO Gazprom, from June 2002 – Chairman of the Board of Directors of OAO Gazprom.
October 2003-November 2005: Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office.
In November 2005, appointed First Deputy Prime Minister.
March 2, 2008: Elected President of the Russian Federation.
Married to Svetlana Vladimirovna Medvedeva. The Medvedevs have a son, Ilya (born 1995).
Ilinka Str, No 23
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