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Vladimir Putin

"Putin" redirects here. For other uses, see Putin (surname).
In this Eastern Slavic naming convention, the patronymic is Vladimirovich and the family name is Putin.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (born 7 October 1952) is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer who is serving as the current president of Russia since 2012, previously being in the office from 1999 until 2008. He was also prime minister from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. As of 2021, Putin is the second-longest serving European president, after Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus.

Vladimir Putin
Владимир Путин
Putin in 2018
President of Russia
Assumed office
7 May 2012
Prime Minister
Preceded byDmitry Medvedev
In office
7 May 2000 – 7 May 2008
Acting: 31 December 1999 – 7 May 2000
Prime Minister
Preceded byBoris Yeltsin
Succeeded byDmitry Medvedev
Prime Minister of Russia
In office
8 May 2008 – 7 May 2012
PresidentDmitry Medvedev
First Deputy
Preceded byViktor Zubkov
Succeeded byDmitry Medvedev
In office
9 August 1999 – 7 May 2000
PresidentBoris Yeltsin
First Deputy
Preceded bySergei Stepashin
Succeeded byMikhail Kasyanov
Secretary of the Security Council
In office
9 March 1999 – 9 August 1999
PresidentBoris Yeltsin
Preceded byNikolay Bordyuzha
Succeeded bySergei Ivanov
Director of the Federal Security Service
In office
25 July 1998 – 29 March 1999
PresidentBoris Yeltsin
Preceded byNikolay Kovalyov
Succeeded byNikolai Patrushev
Additional positions
Leader of All-Russia People's Front
Assumed office
12 June 2013
Preceded byOffice established
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union State
In office
27 May 2008 – 18 July 2012
Chm of Sup. Cncl.
General SecretaryPavel Borodin
Preceded byViktor Zubkov
Succeeded byDmitry Medvedev
Leader of United Russia
In office
7 May 2008 – 26 May 2012
Preceded byBoris Gryzlov
Succeeded byDmitry Medvedev
Personal details
Born
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

(1952-10-07)7 October 1952 (age 69)
Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
(now Saint Petersburg, Russia)
Political partyIndependent (1991–1995; 2001–2008; 2012–present)
Other political
affiliations
People's Front (2011–present)
United Russia (2008–2012)
Unity (1999–2001)
Our Home – Russia
(1995–1999)
CPSU (1975–1991)
Spouse(s)
(m.1983; div. 2014)​
ChildrenAt least 2, Maria and Katerina
ParentsVladimir Spiridonovich Putin
Maria Ivanovna Putina
ResidenceNovo-Ogaryovo, Moscow
Alma materSaint Petersburg State University (LLB)
Saint Petersburg Mining Institute (PhD)
AwardsOrder of Honour
Signature
WebsiteOfficial website
Military service
AllegianceSoviet Union
Russia
Branch/serviceKGB; FSB; Russian Armed Forces
Years of service
  • 1975–1991
  • 1998–1999
  • 2000–present
RankColonel
Supreme Commander-in-chief
Battles/wars

Putin was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) and studied law at Leningrad State University, graduating in 1975. Putin 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 later 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 chose to become the prime minister again from 2008 to 2012, and was reelected as president in 2012, and 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 his first tenure as president, the Russian economy grew for eight straight years, with GDP measured by purchasing power increasing by 72%, real incomes increased by a factor of 2.5, real wages more than tripled; unemployment and poverty more than halved and the Russians' 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. Serving under Dmitry Medvedev from 2008 to 2012, he oversaw large-scale military reform and police reform. In 2012, Putin sought a third term as president and won with almost 64% of the vote. Falling oil prices coupled with international sanctions imposed at the beginning of 2014 after Russia's military intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea 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. Development under Putin has included the construction of 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. Putin received 76% of the vote in the 2018 election and was re-elected for a six-year term ending in 2024.

Under Putin's leadership, Russia has experienced democratic backsliding. Experts do not generally consider Russia to be a democracy, citing jailing of political opponents, purges, and the repression and prohibition of a free press, as well as 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. Human rights organizations and activists accuse Putin of persecuting political critics and activists as well as ordering them tortured or assassinated.

Contents

Spiridon Putin, Vladimir's grandfather, a personal cook to Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin
Putin's parents, Vladimir Spiridonovich and Maria Ivanovna (née Shelomova)

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). Spiridon Putin, Vladimir Putin's grandfather, was a personal cook to Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. 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. 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 KGB, c. 1980

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. This period in his career is unclear and controversial.

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". Putin's work was also downplayed by former head of Stasi Markus Wolf and Putin's former KGB colleague Vladimir Usoltsev. According to journalist Catherine Belton, this downplaying was actually cover for Putin's involvement in KGB coordination and support for the terrorist Red Army Faction, whose members were frequently hiding in Eastern Germany with support of the Stasi, and Dresden was preferred as a "marginal" town with low presence of Western intelligence services. According to an anonymous source, a former RAF member, at one of these meetings in Dresden the militants presented Putin with a list of weapons that were later delivered to the RAF in West Germany. Klaus Zuchold, who claimed to be recruited by Putin, said the latter also handled a neo-nazi Rainer Sonntag, and attempted to recruit an author of a study on poisons. Putin also reportedly 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, he saved the files of the Soviet Cultural Center (House of Friendship) and of the 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 the KGB files, in a few hours, but saved the archives of the Soviet Cultural Center for the German authorities. Nothing is told about the selection criteria during this burning; for example, concerning Stasi files or about files of other agencies of the German Democratic Republic or 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.

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 1999, Putin described communism as "a blind alley, far away from the mainstream of civilization".

1990–1996: Saint Petersburg administration

Putin, Lyudmila Narusova and Ksenia Sobchak at the funeral of Putin's former mentor Anatoly Sobchak, Mayor of Saint Petersburg (1991–1996).

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.

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.

1996–1999: Early Moscow career

In June 1996, Sobchak lost his bid for re-election in Saint Petersburg, and Putin, who had led his election campaign, resigned from his positions in the city administration. 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. He 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.

Putin as FSB director, 1998

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; Putin responded that 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.

1999: First premiership

Putin with President Boris Yeltsin on 31 December 1999, when Yeltsin announced his resignation

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 16 August, the State Duma approved his appointment as Prime Minister with 233 votes in favor (vs. 84 against, 17 abstained), 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 the Russian apartment bombings and the invasion of Dagestan by mujahideens, including the former KGB agents, based in the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Putin's law-and-order image and unrelenting approach to the Second Chechen War 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 formed Unity Party, which won the second largest percentage of the popular vote (23.3%) in the December 1999 Duma elections, and in turn supported Putin.

1999–2000: Acting presidency

Putin, 1999

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 forwarded 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.

2000–2004: First presidential term

Putin taking the presidential oath beside Boris Yeltsin, May 2000

The inauguration of President Putin occurred on 7 May 2000. Putin appointed the Minister of Finance, Mikhail Kasyanov, as the Prime Minister.

Putin with Tom Brokaw before an interview on 2 June 2000

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 took several days for Putin to return 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.

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.

2004–2008: Second presidential term

Putin with Junichiro Koizumi, Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schröder, Silvio Berlusconi, George W. Bush and other state leaders in Moscow, 9 May 2005

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 on 1–3 September 2004; more than 330 people died, including 186 children.

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.

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.

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 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.

2008–2012: Second premiership

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.

Putin with Dmitry Medvedev, March 2008

Putin has said that overcoming the consequences of the world economic crisis was one of the two main achievements of his second Premiership. The other was stabilizing the size of Russia's population between 2008 and 2011 following a long period of demographic collapse that began in the 1990s.

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.

2012–2018: 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. This switch was termed by many in the media as "Rokirovka", the Russian term for the chess move "castling".

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.

Anti-Putin protesters march in Moscow, 4 February 2012

Anti-Putin protests took place during and directly after the presidential campaign. The most notorious protest was the Pussy Riot performance on 21 February, and subsequent trial. An estimated 8,000–20,000 protesters gathered in Moscow on 6 May, when eighty people were injured in confrontations with police, and 450 were arrested, with another 120 arrests taking place the following day. A counter-protest of Putin supporters occurred which culminated in a gathering of an estimated 130,000 supporters at the 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. The rally is considered to be the largest in support of Putin to date.

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, Arkhangelsk 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.

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.

Russo-Ukrainian conflict

Putin in talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande, 17 October 2014

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 Donbas area of Ukraine escalated into an armed conflict between the Ukrainian government and the Russia-backed separatist forces of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk 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 majority of members of the international community and organizations such as Amnesty International have condemned Russia for its actions in post-revolutionary Ukraine, accusing it of breaking international law and of violating Ukrainian sovereignty. Many countries implemented economic sanctions against Russia, Russian individuals or companies – to which Russia responded in kind.

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.

According to academic Andrei Tsygankov, many members of the international community assumed that Putin's annexation of Crimea had initiated a completely new kind of Russian foreign policy. They took the annexation of Crimea to mean that his foreign policy had shifted "from state-driven foreign policy" to taking an offensive stance to recreate the Soviet Union. He also says, that this policy shift can be understood 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

Putin meets with U.S. President Barack Obama in New York City to discuss Syria and ISIL, 29 September 2015

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.

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.

Russia's interference in the 2016 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. Both Trump and Putin have consistently denied any Russian interference in the U.S. election. However, Putin later stated that interference was "theoretically possible" and could have been perpetrated by "patriotically minded" Russian hackers, and on another occasion claimed "not even Russians, but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews, but with Russian citizenship" might have been responsible. 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. Putin continued similar attempts in the 2020 U.S. election.

2018–present: Fourth presidential term

Putin and the newly appointed Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin meeting with members of Mishustin's Cabinet, 21 January 2020

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.

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.

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 that could extend his political power after presidency. 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.

COVID-19 pandemic

Putin visits coronavirus patients at a Moscow hospital, 24 March 2020

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.

On 25 March, President Putin announced in a televised address to the nation that the 22 April constitutional referendum would be postponed due to the coronavirus. He added that the next week would be a nationwide paid holiday and urged Russians to stay at home. Putin also announced a list of measures of social protection, support for small and medium-sized enterprises, and changes in fiscal policy. Putin announced the following measures for microenterprises, small- and medium-sized businesses: deferring tax payments (except Russia's value-added tax) for the next six months, cutting the size of social security contributions in half, deferring social security contributions, deferring loan repayments for the next six months, a six-month moratorium on fines, debt collection, and creditors' applications for bankruptcy of debtor enterprises. On 2 April, Putin again issued an address in which he announced prolongation of the non-working time until 30 April. Putin likened Russia's fight against COVID-19 to Russia's battles with invading Pecheneg and Cuman steppe nomads in the 10th and 11th centuries. In a 24 to 27 April Levada poll, 48% of Russian respondents said that they disapproved of Putin's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and his strict isolation and lack of leadership during the crisis was widely commented as sign of losing his "strongman" image.

Putin's First Deputy Chief of Staff Sergey Kiriyenko (left) is in charge of Russia's domestic politics.

In June 2021, Putin said he was fully vaccinated against the disease with the Sputnik V vaccine, emphasising that while vaccinations should be voluntary, making them mandatory in some professions would slow down the spread of COVID-19. In September, Putin entered self-isolation after people in his inner circle tested positive for the disease.

Constitutional referendum and amendments

Putin signed an executive order on 3 July 2020 to officially insert amendments into the Russian Constitution, allowing him to run for two additional six-year terms. These amendments took effect on 4 July 2020.

Since 11 July, protests have been held in the Khabarovsk Krai in Russia's Far East in support of arrested regional governor Sergei Furgal. The 2020 Khabarovsk Krai protests have become increasingly anti-Putin. A July 2020 Levada poll found that 45% of surveyed Russians supported the protests.

On 22 December 2020, Putin signed a bill giving lifetime prosecutorial immunity to Russian ex-presidents.

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).

On 13 May 2000, Putin introduced seven federal districts for administrative purposes. On 19 January 2010, the 8th North Caucasus Federal District (shown here in purple) was split from Southern Federal District. On 21 March 2014, the new 9th Crimean Federal District was formed after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, but on 28 July 2016 it was incorporated into Southern Federal District.

According to 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. Some commentators have described Putin's administration as a "sovereign democracy". According to the proponents of that description (primarily 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. The practice of the system is however characterized by Swedish economist Anders Åslund:

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.

Anders Åslund, "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 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.

During his first term in office, Putin opposed some of the Yeltsin-era oligarchs, as well as his political opponents, resulting in the exile or imprisonment of such people as Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky; other oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich and Arkady Rotenberg 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. Under Medvedev's presidency, Putin's government implemented some key reforms in the area of state security, the Russian police reform and the Russian military reform.

Economic, industrial, and energy policies

Russian GDP since the end of the Soviet Union (from 2014 are forecasts)

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.

Fueled by the 2000s commodities boom including record high oil prices, under the Putin administration from 2000 to 2016, an increase in income in USD terms was 4.5 times. During Putin's first eight years in office, industry grew substantially, as did production, construction, real incomes, credit, and the middle class. 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.

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.

In 2014 Putin signed a deal to supply China with 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. Power of Siberia, which Putin has called the "world's biggest construction project", was launched in 2019 and is expected continue for 30 years at an ultimate cost to China of $400bn.

The ongoing financial crisis began in the second half of 2014 when the Russian ruble collapsed due to a decline in the price of oil and international sanctions against Russia. These events in turn led to loss of investor confidence and capital flight, though it has also been argued that the sanctions had little to no effect on Russia's economy. In 2014, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project named Putin their Person of the Year Award for furthering corruption and organized crime.

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.

Environmental policy

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.

Putin personally supervises a number of protection programmes for rare and endangered animals in Russia, such as the Amur tiger, the white whale, the polar bear and the snow leopard.

Religious policy

Main article: Religion in Russia
Putin with religious leaders of Russia, February 2001

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.

Putin regularly attends the most important services of the Russian Orthodox Church on the main holy days. He established a good relationship with Patriarchs of the Russian Church, the late Alexy II of Moscow and the current Kirill of Moscow. As president, he took an active personal part in promoting the Act of Canonical Communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, signed 17 May 2007 that restored relations between the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia after the 80-year schism.

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".

Military development

Putin with Russia's long-serving minister of defense, Army General Sergey Shoygu, in the Eastern Military District, 2013

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.

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.

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 professional NCO 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 airbase system instead of regiments.

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.

According to the Kremlin, Putin embarked a build up of Russia's nuclear capabilities because of U.S. President George W. Bush's decision to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Most analysts agree that Russia's nuclear strategy under Putin eventually brought it into violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Because of this, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would no longer consider itself bound by the treaty's provisions, raising nuclear tensions between the two powers. 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". Most military analysts believe Russia would consider launching first if losing a major conventional conflict as part of an 'escalate to de-escalate' 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 expedition Arktika 2007, part of research related to the 2001 Russian territorial extension claim, planted a flag on the seabed at the North Pole. Both Russian submarines and troops deployed in the Arctic have been increasing.

Human rights policy

Russian opposition protest in Moscow, 26 February 2017

New York City-based NGO Human Rights Watch, in a report entitled 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 non-governmental 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. Human rights activists have criticized Russia for censoring speech of LGBT activists due to "the gay propaganda law" and increasing violence against LGBT+ people due to the law.

In 2020, Putin signed a law on labeling individuals and organisations receiving funding from abroad as "foreign agents". The law is an expansion of "foreign agent" legislation adopted in 2012.

As of June 2020, per Memorial Human Rights Center, there were 380 political prisoners in Russia, including 63 individuals prosecuted, directly or indirectly, for political activities (including Alexey Navalny) and 245 prosecuted for their involvement with one of the Muslim organizations that are banned in Russia. 78 individuals on the list, i.e. more than 20% of the total, are residents of Crimea.

The media

Scott Gehlbach, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has claimed that since 1999, Putin has systematically punished journalists who challenge his official point of view. Maria Lipman, an American writing in Foreign Affairs 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:

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. Freedom House ranks Russian media as "not free", indicating that basic safeguards and guarantees for journalists and media enterprises are absent.

In the early 2000s, Putin began promoting the idea in Russian media that they are the modern-day version of the 17th-century Romanov tsars who ended Russia's "Time of Troubles", meaning they claim to be the peacemakers and stabilizers after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Promoting conservatism

Putin attends the Orthodox Christmas service in the village Turginovo in Kalininsky District, Tver Oblast, 7 January 2016

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."

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:

"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."

International sporting events

Captain of the Canada national team Corey Perry giving Putin a hug after winning the gold medal at the 2016 IIHF World Championship

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.

Wildlife protection and conservation

Putin is chairman of the 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 the Russian Academy of Sciences.[third-party source needed]

Putin's visit to the United States, November 2001

Leonid Bershidsky analyzed Putin's interview with the Financial Times and concluded, "Putin is an imperialist of the old Soviet school, rather than a nationalist or a racist, and he has cooperated with, and promoted, people who are known to be gay."

Putin spoke favorably of artificial intelligence in regards to foreign policy, "Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world."

Mikhail Khodorkovsky stated, "[Putin] would like to sit at a table with the US president, and maybe the president of China, and just these three will decide the fate of the world."

Asia

Putin with Xi Jinping during a state visit to Moscow, May 2015

In 2012, Putin wrote an article in Indian newspaper The Hindu, saying that "The Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and Russia signed in October 2000 became a truly historic step". Today, India remains the largest customer of Russian military equipment, and the two countries share a historically strong strategic and diplomatic relationship.

Russia, under Putin, has maintained positive relations with the Asian states of SCO and BRICS. In the 21st century, Sino-Russian relations have significantly strengthened bilaterally and economically—the Treaty of Friendship, and the construction of the ESPO oil pipeline and the Power of Siberia gas pipeline formed a special relationship between the two great powers.

Post-Soviet states

The Eurasian Union with its current members: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan

Under Putin, the Kremlin has consistently stated that Russia has a sphere of influence and "privileged interests" over other Post-Soviet states, which are referred to as the "near abroad" in Russia. It has also been stated that the post-Soviet states are strategically vital to Russian interests. Some Russia experts have compared this concept to the Monroe Doctrine.

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".

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 annexation 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 Orthodox Church 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 the history of our country may argue with me, but it seems to me that the Russian and Ukrainian peoples are practically one people". After making a similar statement, in late December 2015 he stated: "the Ukrainian culture, as well as Ukrainian literature, surely has a source of its own".

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 other parts of Georgia, then also opened a second front in the other Georgian breakaway province of Abkhazia 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 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.

United States, Western Europe, and NATO

Putin with U.S. President Donald Trump at the summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland, 16 July 2018
Putin with U.S. President Joe Biden at the summit meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, 16 June 2021

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 the 9/11 attacks Putin quickly supported the U.S. in the War on Terror and the opportunity for partnership appeared. According to Stephen F. Cohen, the U.S. "repaid by further expansion of NATO to Russia's borders and by unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty", but others pointed out the applications from new countries willing to join NATO was driven primarily by Russian's behavior in Chechnya, Transnitria, Abkhazia, Yanayev putsch as well as calls to restore USSR in its previous borders by prominent Russian politicians.

From 2003, when Russia strongly opposed the U.S. when it waged the Iraq War Putin became ever more distant from the West. Relations steadily deteriorated. 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 a January 2007 interview, Putin said Russia was in favor of a democratic multipolar world and strengthening the systems of international law.

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 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.

Putin opposed Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence, warning that it would destabilize the whole system of international relations.

After the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. in 2001, Putin had good relations with American President George W. Bush, and many western European leaders. His "cooler" and "more business-like" relationship with German 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.

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 American Edward Snowden, who had leaked massive amounts of classified information from the NSA.

In 2014, Russia was suspended from the G8 group as a result of its annexation of Crimea. However, in June 2015, Putin told that Russia has no intention of attacking NATO.

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.

According to Putin, he, like all of Russia, has a particularly good relationship to neighboring country Finland. Picture of Putin handshaking with Sauli Niinistö, the President of Finland, in August 2019.

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.

On 18 June 2020, The National Interest published a nine thousand word 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.

United Kingdom

Putin and his wife Lyudmila meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2005

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.

Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko

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.

In 2015–16, the British Government conducted an inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko. Its report states, "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.

Poisoning of Sergei Skripal

On 4 March 2018, former double agent Sergei Skripal was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury. Ten 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".

Australia and Latin America

Putin with the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, at the 2019 G20 summit in Osaka, Japan

Putin and his successor, Medvedev, enjoyed warm relations with 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 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.

Middle East and North Africa

Putin with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, September 2018

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 was quoted as describing Iran as a "partner", though he expressed concerns over the Iranian nuclear programme.

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?"

Regarding Syria, from 2000 to 2010 Russia sold around $1.5 billion worth of arms to that country, making Damascus Moscow's seventh-largest client. During the Syrian civil war, Russia threatened to veto any sanctions against the Syrian government, and continued to supply arms to the regime.

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".

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.

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.

Putin opens the Wall of Grief, a monument to victims of Stalinist repression, 30 October 2017

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. 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, Putin's approval rating hit its highest since 2008, and was 83%. After EU and U.S. sanctions against Russian officials as a result of the crisis in Ukraine, Putin's approval rating reached 87%, according to a 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%.

Observers saw Putin's high approval ratings in 2010's as a consequence of significant improvements in living standards, and Russia's reassertion of itself on the world scene during his presidency.

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".

Vladimir Putin approval 1999–2020 (Levada, 2020)

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 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.

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 (closed question), and 27% when respondents were expected to name politicians they trust (open question). 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. In another May 2021 Levada poll, 33% indicated Putin in response to "who would you vote for this weekend?" among Moscow respondents and 40% outside of Moscow.

The Levada Center survey showed that 58% of surveyed Russians supported the 2017 Russian protests against high-level corruption.

Assessments

Critics state that Putin has moved Russia in an autocratic direction, weakening the system of representative government advocated by Boris Yeltsin. 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."

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.

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".

Personal image

Putin driving an F1 car, 2010 ()

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." Numerous Kremlinologists have accused Putin of seeking to create a cult of personality around himself, an accusation that the Kremlin has denied. Some of Putin's 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).

There are many songs about Putin, and 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 Mikhail Lesin 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 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.

Putinisms

Putin has produced many aphorisms and catch-phrases known as putinisms. 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 to Russian jokes and folk sayings.

Putin sometimes uses Russian criminal jargon (known as "fenya" in Russian), albeit not always correctly.

Family

Putin and Lyudmila Putina at their wedding, 28 July 1983

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 rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva. 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 reports that Putin and Kabaeva had multiple children together, although these unsubstantiated 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 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 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.

Personal wealth

See also: Panama Papers

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, pictured 2018

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

Polygraph.info, "Are 'Putin's Billions' a Myth?"

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".

Residences

Official government residences

Putin receives Barack Obama at his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, 2009

As president and prime-minister, Putin has lived in numerous official residences throughout the country. These residences include: the Moscow Kremlin, Novo-Ogaryovo in Moscow Oblast, Gorki-9 [ru] near Moscow, Bocharov Ruchey in Sochi, Dolgiye Borody [ru] in Novgorod Oblast, and Riviera in Sochi.

In August 2012, critics of Putin listed the ownership of 20 villas and palaces, nine of which were built during Putin's 12 years in power.

Personal residences

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.

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. 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. He also said that the mansion, built on government land and sporting 3 helipads, a private road paid for from state funds and guarded by officials wearing uniforms of the official Kremlin guard service, have been built for Putin's private use. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed Kolesnikov's allegations against Putin as untrue, saying that "Putin has never had any relationship to this palace." On 19 January 2021, two days after Alexei Navalny was detained by Russian authorities upon his return to Russia, a video investigation by him and the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) was published accusing Putin of using fraudulently obtained funds to build the estate for himself in what he called "the world's biggest bribe." In the investigation, Navalny said that the estate is 39 times the size of Monaco and cost over 100 billion rubles ($1.35 billion) to construct. It also showed aerial footage of the estate via a drone and a detailed floorplan of the palace that Navalny said was given by a contractor, which he compared to photographs from inside the palace that were leaked onto the Internet in 2011. He also detailed an elaborate corruption scheme allegedly involving Putin's inner circle that allowed Putin to hide billions of dollars to build the estate.

Pets

Putin has received five dogs from various nation leaders: Konni, Buffy, Yume, Verni and Pasha. Konni died in 2014. When Putin first became president, the family had two poodles, Tosya and Rodeo. They reportedly stayed with his ex-wife Lyudmila after their divorce.

Religion

Putin and wife Lyudmila in New York at a service for victims of the September 11 attacks, 16 November 2001

Putin is Russian Orthodox. His mother was a devoted Christian believer who attended the Russian Orthodox Church, while his father was an atheist. Though his mother kept no icons 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 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.

Sports

Putin watches football and supports FC Zenit Saint Petersburg. He displays an interest in ice hockey and bandy.

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. He co-authored a book entitled Judo with Vladimir Putin in Russian, and Judo: History, Theory, Practice in English (2004). Benjamin Wittes, a black belt in taekwondo and aikido and editor of Lawfare, has disputed Putin's martial arts skills, stating that there is no video evidence of Putin displaying any real noteworthy judo skills.

Civilian awards presented by different countries

Date Country Decoration Presenter Notes
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
22 September 2006 France Légion d'honneur President Jacques Chirac Grand-Croix (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 President Hugo Chávez Venezuela's highest distinction
4 October 2013 Monaco Order of Saint-Charles Prince Albert Monaco's highest decoration
11 July 2014 Cuba Order of José Martí President Raúl Castro Cuba's highest decoration
16 October 2014 Serbia Order of the Republic of Serbia President Tomislav Nikolić Grand Collar, Serbia's highest award
3 October 2017 Turkmenistan Order "For contribution to the development of cooperation" President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
22 November 2017 Kyrgyzstan Order of Manas President Almazbek Atambayev
8 June 2018 China Order of Friendship President Xi Jinping People's Republic of China's highest order of honour
28 May 2019 Kazakhstan Order of Nazarbayev Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev

Honorary doctorates

Other awards

Year Award Notes
2006 Order of Sheikh ul-Islam Highest Muslim order, awarded for his role in interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Christians in the region.
24 March 2011 Order of Saint Sava Serbian Orthodox Church's highest distinction.
15 November 2011 Confucius Peace Prize The China International Peace Research Centre awarded the Confucius Peace Prize to Putin, citing as reason Putin's opposition to NATO's Libya bombing in 2011 while also paying tribute to his decision to go to war in Chechnya in 1999. 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 Francis presented Putin with the Angel of Peace Medal, which is a customary gift to presidents visiting the Vatican.

Recognition

Year Award/Recognition Description
2007 Time: 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 outsize—if not always benign—influence on global affairs."
December 2007 Expert: Person of the Year A Russian business-oriented weekly magazine named Putin as its Person of the Year.
5 October 2008 Vladimir Putin Avenue The central street of Grozny, the capital of Russia's Republic of Chechnya, was renamed from the Victory Avenue to the Vladimir Putin Avenue, as ordered by the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.[deprecated source?]
February 2011 Vladimir Putin Peak The parliament of Kyrgyzstan named a peak in Tian Shan mountains Vladimir Putin Peak.[deprecated source?]
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    Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin Language Watch Edit Putin redirects here For other uses see Putin surname In this Eastern Slavic naming convention the patronymic is Vladimirovich and the family name is Putin Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin c born 7 October 1952 is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer who is serving as the current president of Russia since 2012 previously being in the office from 1999 until 2008 7 d He was also prime minister from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012 As of 2021 Putin is the second longest serving European president after Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus Vladimir Putin Vladimir PutinPutin in 2018President of RussiaIncumbentAssumed office 7 May 2012Prime MinisterDmitry MedvedevMikhail MishustinPreceded byDmitry MedvedevIn office 7 May 2000 7 May 2008 Acting 31 December 1999 7 May 2000Prime MinisterMikhail KasyanovMikhail FradkovViktor ZubkovPreceded byBoris YeltsinSucceeded byDmitry MedvedevPrime Minister of RussiaIn office 8 May 2008 7 May 2012PresidentDmitry MedvedevFirst DeputySergei IvanovViktor ZubkovIgor ShuvalovPreceded byViktor ZubkovSucceeded byDmitry MedvedevIn office 9 August 1999 7 May 2000PresidentBoris YeltsinFirst DeputyNikolai AksyonenkoViktor KhristenkoMikhail KasyanovPreceded bySergei StepashinSucceeded byMikhail KasyanovSecretary of the Security CouncilIn office 9 March 1999 9 August 1999PresidentBoris YeltsinPreceded byNikolay BordyuzhaSucceeded bySergei IvanovDirector of the Federal Security ServiceIn office 25 July 1998 29 March 1999PresidentBoris YeltsinPreceded byNikolay KovalyovSucceeded byNikolai PatrushevAdditional positionsLeader of All Russia People s FrontIncumbentAssumed office 12 June 2013Preceded byOffice establishedChairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union StateIn office 27 May 2008 18 July 2012Chm of Sup Cncl Alexander LukashenkoGeneral SecretaryPavel BorodinPreceded byViktor ZubkovSucceeded byDmitry MedvedevLeader of United RussiaIn office 7 May 2008 26 May 2012Preceded byBoris GryzlovSucceeded byDmitry MedvedevPersonal detailsBornVladimir Vladimirovich Putin 1952 10 07 7 October 1952 age 69 Leningrad Russian SFSR Soviet Union now Saint Petersburg Russia Political partyIndependent 1991 1995 2001 2008 2012 present Other political affiliationsPeople s Front 2011 present United Russia 1 2008 2012 Unity 1999 2001 Our Home Russia 1995 1999 CPSU 1975 1991 Spouse s Lyudmila Shkrebneva m 1983 div 2014 wbr a ChildrenAt least 2 Maria and Katerina b ParentsVladimir Spiridonovich Putin Maria Ivanovna PutinaResidenceNovo Ogaryovo MoscowAlma materSaint Petersburg State University LLB Saint Petersburg Mining Institute PhD AwardsOrder of HonourSignatureWebsiteOfficial websiteMilitary serviceAllegiance Soviet Union RussiaBranch serviceKGB FSB Russian Armed ForcesYears of service1975 1991 1998 1999 2000 presentRankColonel Supreme Commander in chiefBattles warsSecond Chechen WarRusso Georgian WarRusso Ukrainian WarSyrian Civil War Putin was born in Leningrad now Saint Petersburg and studied law at Leningrad State University graduating in 1975 Putin 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 later 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 chose to become the prime minister again from 2008 to 2012 and was reelected as president in 2012 and 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 8 9 During his first tenure as president the Russian economy grew for eight straight years with GDP measured by purchasing power increasing by 72 real incomes increased by a factor of 2 5 real wages more than tripled unemployment and poverty more than halved and the Russians self assessed life satisfaction rose significantly 10 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 11 and prudent economic and fiscal policies 12 13 Serving under Dmitry Medvedev from 2008 to 2012 he oversaw large scale military reform and police reform In 2012 Putin sought a third term as president and won with almost 64 of the vote 14 Falling oil prices coupled with international sanctions imposed at the beginning of 2014 after Russia s military intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea 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 15 Development under Putin has included the construction of 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 Putin received 76 of the vote in the 2018 election and was re elected for a six year term ending in 2024 Under Putin s leadership Russia has experienced democratic backsliding Experts do not generally consider Russia to be a democracy citing jailing of political opponents purges and the repression and prohibition of a free press as well as the lack of free and fair elections 16 17 18 19 20 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 Human rights organizations and activists accuse Putin of persecuting political critics and activists as well as ordering them tortured or assassinated Contents 1 Early life 2 KGB career 3 Political career 3 1 1990 1996 Saint Petersburg administration 3 2 1996 1999 Early Moscow career 3 3 1999 First premiership 3 4 1999 2000 Acting presidency 3 5 2000 2004 First presidential term 3 6 2004 2008 Second presidential term 3 7 2008 2012 Second premiership 3 8 2012 2018 Third presidential term 3 8 1 Russo Ukrainian conflict 3 8 2 Intervention in Syria 3 8 3 Russia s interference in the 2016 US election 3 9 2018 present Fourth presidential term 3 9 1 COVID 19 pandemic 3 9 2 Constitutional referendum and amendments 4 Domestic policies 4 1 Economic industrial and energy policies 4 2 Environmental policy 4 3 Religious policy 4 4 Military development 4 5 Human rights policy 4 6 The media 4 7 Promoting conservatism 4 8 International sporting events 4 9 Wildlife protection and conservation 5 Foreign policy 5 1 Asia 5 2 Post Soviet states 5 3 United States Western Europe and NATO 5 4 United Kingdom 5 4 1 Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko 5 5 Australia and Latin America 5 6 Middle East and North Africa 6 Public image 6 1 Polls and rankings 6 2 Assessments 6 3 Personal image 6 4 Publication recognition in the United States 6 5 Putinisms 7 Electoral history 8 Personal life 8 1 Family 8 2 Personal wealth 8 3 Residences 8 3 1 Official government residences 8 3 2 Personal residences 8 4 Pets 8 5 Religion 8 6 Sports 9 Honours 9 1 Civilian awards presented by different countries 9 2 Honorary doctorates 9 3 Other awards 9 4 Recognition 10 References 11 Notes 12 Further reading 13 External linksEarly life Spiridon Putin Vladimir s grandfather a personal cook to Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin Putin s parents Vladimir Spiridonovich and Maria Ivanovna nee Shelomova Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born on 7 October 1952 in Leningrad Russian SFSR Soviet Union now Saint Petersburg Russia 21 22 the youngest of three children of Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin 1911 1999 and Maria Ivanovna Putina nee Shelomova 1911 1998 Spiridon Putin Vladimir Putin s grandfather was a personal cook to Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin 23 24 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 25 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 26 27 28 Later he was transferred to the regular army and was severely wounded in 1942 29 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 30 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 31 Putin studied German at Saint Petersburg High School 281 and speaks German fluently 32 Putin studied law at the Leningrad State University named after Andrei Zhdanov now Saint Petersburg State University in 1970 and graduated in 1975 33 His thesis was on The Most Favored Nation Trading Principle in International Law 34 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 35 Putin met Anatoly Sobchak an assistant professor who taught business law e 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 36 KGB career In KGB c 1980 In 1975 Putin joined the KGB and trained at the 401st KGB school in Okhta Leningrad 21 37 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 21 38 39 In September 1984 Putin was sent to Moscow for further training at the Yuri Andropov Red Banner Institute 40 41 42 From 1985 to 1990 he served in Dresden East Germany 43 using a cover identity as a translator 44 This period in his career is unclear and controversial 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 44 Putin s work was also downplayed by former head of Stasi Markus Wolf and Putin s former KGB colleague Vladimir Usoltsev According to journalist Catherine Belton this downplaying was actually cover for Putin s involvement in KGB coordination and support for the terrorist Red Army Faction whose members were frequently hiding in Eastern Germany with support of the Stasi and Dresden was preferred as a marginal town with low presence of Western intelligence services According to an anonymous source a former RAF member at one of these meetings in Dresden the militants presented Putin with a list of weapons that were later delivered to the RAF in West Germany Klaus Zuchold who claimed to be recruited by Putin said the latter also handled a neo nazi Rainer Sonntag and attempted to recruit an author of a study on poisons 45 Putin also reportedly 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 39 According to Putin s official biography during the fall of the Berlin Wall that began on 9 November 1989 he saved the files of the Soviet Cultural Center House of Friendship and of the 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 the KGB files in a few hours but saved the archives of the Soviet Cultural Center for the German authorities Nothing is told about the selection criteria during this burning for example concerning Stasi files or about files of other agencies of the German Democratic Republic or 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 46 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 39 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 47 Putin claims that he resigned with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on 20 August 1991 47 on the second day of the 1991 Soviet coup d etat attempt against the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev 48 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 49 In 1999 Putin described communism as a blind alley far away from the mainstream of civilization 50 Political careerMain articles Political career of Vladimir Putin and Russia under Vladimir Putin 1990 1996 Saint Petersburg administration Putin Lyudmila Narusova and Ksenia Sobchak at the funeral of Putin s former mentor 51 Anatoly Sobchak Mayor of Saint Petersburg 1991 1996 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 52 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 53 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 54 33 Despite the investigators recommendation that Putin be fired Putin remained head of the Committee for External Relations until 1996 55 56 From 1994 to 1996 he held several other political and governmental positions in Saint Petersburg 57 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 57 1996 1999 Early Moscow career In June 1996 Sobchak lost his bid for re election in Saint Petersburg and Putin who had led his election campaign resigned from his positions in the city administration 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 He 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 36 Putin as FSB director 1998 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 36 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 58 This exemplified the custom in Russia whereby a young rising official wrote a scholarly work in mid career 59 When Putin later became president the dissertation became a target of plagiarism accusations by fellows at the Brookings Institution Putin responded that the dissertation was referenced 60 61 the Brookings fellows asserted that it constituted plagiarism albeit perhaps unintentional 60 The dissertation committee refuted the accusations 61 62 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 63 Later after becoming president Putin cancelled all 46 agreements 36 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 64 1999 First premiership Main article Vladimir Putin s First Cabinet Putin with President Boris Yeltsin on 31 December 1999 when Yeltsin announced his resignation 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 65 Yeltsin also announced that he wanted to see Putin as his successor Later on that same day Putin agreed to run for the presidency 66 On 16 August the State Duma approved his appointment as Prime Minister with 233 votes in favor vs 84 against 17 abstained 67 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 68 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 the Russian apartment bombings and the invasion of Dagestan by mujahideens including the former KGB agents based in the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Putin s law and order image and unrelenting approach to the Second Chechen War 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 formed Unity Party 69 which won the second largest percentage of the popular vote 23 3 in the December 1999 Duma elections and in turn supported Putin 1999 2000 Acting presidency Putin 1999 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 70 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 71 72 This ensured that corruption charges against the outgoing President and his relatives would not be pursued 73 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 74 75 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 forwarded by Swiss prosecutors 76 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 77 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 78 79 2000 2004 First presidential term Putin taking the presidential oath beside Boris Yeltsin May 2000 The inauguration of President Putin occurred on 7 May 2000 Putin appointed the Minister of Finance Mikhail Kasyanov as the Prime Minister Putin with Tom Brokaw before an interview on 2 June 2000 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 80 That criticism was largely because it took several days for Putin to return from vacation and several more before he visited the scene 80 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 81 82 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 83 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 84 Chechnya has been gradually stabilized with the establishment of the Parliamentary elections and a Regional Government 85 86 Throughout the Second Chechen War Russia severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement however sporadic attacks by rebels continued to occur throughout the northern Caucasus 87 2004 2008 Second presidential term Putin with Junichiro Koizumi Jacques Chirac Gerhard Schroder Silvio Berlusconi George W Bush and other state leaders in Moscow 9 May 2005 88 89 90 On 14 March 2004 Putin was elected to the presidency for a second term receiving 71 of the vote 91 The Beslan school hostage crisis took place on 1 3 September 2004 more than 330 people died including 186 children 92 The near 10 year period prior to the rise of Putin after the dissolution of Soviet rule was a time of upheaval in Russia 93 In a 2005 Kremlin speech Putin characterized the collapse of the Soviet Union as the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the Twentieth Century 94 Putin elaborated Moreover the epidemic of disintegration infected Russia itself 95 The country s cradle to grave social safety net was gone and life expectancy declined in the period preceding Putin s rule 96 In 2005 the National Priority Projects were launched to improve Russia s health care education housing and agriculture 97 98 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 99 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 100 The fate of Yukos was seen as a sign of a broader shift of Russia towards a system of state capitalism 101 102 This was underscored in July 2014 when shareholders of Yukos were awarded 50 billion in compensation by the Permanent Arbitration Court in The Hague 103 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 104 105 Putin himself said that her death caused the government more problems than her writings 106 Putin Bill Clinton George H W Bush and Lyudmila Putina at the state funeral of Boris Yeltsin in Moscow April 2007 In 2007 Dissenters Marches were organized by the opposition group The Other Russia 107 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 108 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 109 In December 2007 United Russia won 64 24 of the popular vote in their run for State Duma according to election preliminary results 110 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 111 112 2008 2012 Second premiership Main article Vladimir Putin s Second Cabinet 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 113 Putin with Dmitry Medvedev March 2008 Putin has said that overcoming the consequences of the world economic crisis was one of the two main achievements of his second Premiership 98 The other was stabilizing the size of Russia s population between 2008 and 2011 following a long period of demographic collapse that began in the 1990s 98 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 114 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 115 Those protests sparked the fear of a colour revolution in society 116 Putin allegedly organized a number of paramilitary groups loyal to himself and to the United Russia party in the period between 2005 and 2012 117 2012 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 118 This switch was termed by many in the media as Rokirovka the Russian term for the chess move castling 119 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 120 121 122 Opposition groups accused Putin and the United Russia party of fraud 123 124 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 125 Anti Putin protesters march in Moscow 4 February 2012 Anti Putin protests took place during and directly after the presidential campaign The most notorious protest was the Pussy Riot performance on 21 February and subsequent trial 126 An estimated 8 000 20 000 protesters gathered in Moscow on 6 May 127 128 when eighty people were injured in confrontations with police 129 and 450 were arrested with another 120 arrests taking place the following day 130 A counter protest of Putin supporters occurred which culminated in a gathering of an estimated 130 000 supporters at the 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 131 132 133 134 The rally is considered to be the largest in support of Putin to date 135 Putin s presidency was inaugurated in the Kremlin on 7 May 2012 136 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 137 In 2012 and 2013 Putin and the United Russia party backed stricter legislation against the LGBT community in Saint Petersburg Arkhangelsk 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 138 139 140 141 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 142 In June 2013 Putin attended a televised rally of the All Russia People s Front where he was elected head of the movement 143 which was set up in 2011 144 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 145 Russo Ukrainian conflict Main articles Russia Ukraine relations Russo Ukrainian War and War in Donbas Putin in talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande 17 October 2014 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 146 147 148 Subsequently demonstrations against Ukrainian Rada legislative actions by pro Russian groups in the Donbas area of Ukraine escalated into an armed conflict between the Ukrainian government and the Russia backed separatist forces of the self declared Donetsk and Luhansk People s Republics In August Russian military vehicles crossed the border in several locations of Donetsk Oblast 149 150 151 152 The incursion by the Russian military was seen by Ukrainian authorities as responsible for the defeat of Ukrainian forces in early September 153 154 In November 2014 the Ukrainian military reported intensive movement of troops and equipment from Russia into the separatist controlled parts of eastern Ukraine 155 The Associated Press reported 80 unmarked military vehicles on the move in rebel controlled areas 156 An OSCE Special Monitoring Mission observed convoys of heavy weapons and tanks in DPR controlled territory without insignia 157 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 158 As of early August 2015 the OSCE observed over 21 such vehicles marked with the Russian military code for soldiers killed in action 159 According to The Moscow Times Russia has tried to intimidate and silence human rights workers discussing Russian soldiers deaths in the conflict 160 The OSCE repeatedly reported that its observers were denied access to the areas controlled by combined Russian separatist forces 161 The majority of members of the international community and organizations such as Amnesty International have condemned Russia for its actions in post revolutionary Ukraine accusing it of breaking international law and of violating Ukrainian sovereignty Many countries implemented economic sanctions against Russia Russian individuals or companies to which Russia responded in kind 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 162 In December 2015 Russian Federation President Putin admitted that Russian military intelligence officers were operating in Ukraine 163 According to academic Andrei Tsygankov many 164 165 members of the international community assumed that Putin s annexation of Crimea had initiated a completely new kind of Russian foreign policy 166 They took the annexation of Crimea to mean that his foreign policy had shifted from state driven foreign policy to taking an offensive stance to recreate the Soviet Union 166 He also says that this policy shift can be understood 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 166 Intervention in Syria Main article Russian military intervention in the Syrian civil war See also Russian involvement in the Syrian civil war Putin meets with U S President Barack Obama in New York City to discuss Syria and ISIL 29 September 2015 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 167 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 168 169 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 170 Russian forces deployed in Syria continued to actively operate in support of the Syrian government 171 Russia s interference in the 2016 US election See also Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and Russia United States relations 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 172 173 Both Trump 174 175 and Putin have consistently denied any Russian interference in the U S election 176 177 178 179 180 181 However Putin later stated that interference was theoretically possible and could have been perpetrated by patriotically minded Russian hackers 182 and on another occasion claimed not even Russians but Ukrainians Tatars or Jews but with Russian citizenship might have been responsible 183 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 184 Putin continued similar attempts in the 2020 U S election 185 2018 present Fourth presidential term See also Vladimir Putin 2018 presidential campaign Putin and the newly appointed Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin meeting with members of Mishustin s Cabinet 21 January 2020 Putin won the 2018 presidential election with more than 76 of the vote 186 His fourth term began on 7 May 2018 187 which will last until 2024 188 On the same day Putin invited Dmitry Medvedev to form a new government 189 On 15 May 2018 Putin took part in the opening of the movement along the highway section of the Crimean bridge 190 On 18 May 2018 Putin signed decrees on the composition of the new Government 191 On 25 May 2018 Putin announced that he would not run for president in 2024 justifying this in compliance with the Russian Constitution 192 On 14 June 2018 Putin opened the 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 United Russia s victory also contributed to inciting mass protests for democracy leading to large scale arrests and cases of police brutality 193 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 that could extend his political power after presidency 194 195 At the same time on behalf of Putin he continued to exercise his powers until the formation of a new government 196 The president suggested that Medvedev take the newly created post of Deputy Chairman of the Security Council 197 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 198 199 and appointed Prime Minister by Putin s decree 200 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 201 202 203 COVID 19 pandemic Main article COVID 19 pandemic in Russia Putin visits coronavirus patients at a Moscow hospital 24 March 2020 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 204 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 205 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 206 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 207 208 On 25 March President Putin announced in a televised address to the nation that the 22 April constitutional referendum would be postponed due to the coronavirus 209 He added that the next week would be a nationwide paid holiday and urged Russians to stay at home 210 211 Putin also announced a list of measures of social protection support for small and medium sized enterprises and changes in fiscal policy 212 Putin announced the following measures for microenterprises small and medium sized businesses deferring tax payments except Russia s value added tax for the next six months cutting the size of social security contributions in half deferring social security contributions deferring loan repayments for the next six months a six month moratorium on fines debt collection and creditors applications for bankruptcy of debtor enterprises 213 214 On 2 April Putin again issued an address in which he announced prolongation of the non working time until 30 April 215 Putin likened Russia s fight against COVID 19 to Russia s battles with invading Pecheneg and Cuman steppe nomads in the 10th and 11th centuries 216 In a 24 to 27 April Levada poll 48 of Russian respondents said that they disapproved of Putin s handling of the coronavirus pandemic 217 and his strict isolation and lack of leadership during the crisis was widely commented as sign of losing his strongman image 218 219 Putin s First Deputy Chief of Staff Sergey Kiriyenko left is in charge of Russia s domestic politics 220 In June 2021 Putin said he was fully vaccinated against the disease with the Sputnik V vaccine emphasising that while vaccinations should be voluntary making them mandatory in some professions would slow down the spread of COVID 19 221 In September Putin entered self isolation after people in his inner circle tested positive for the disease 222 Constitutional referendum and amendments Main article 2020 Russian constitutional referendum Putin signed an executive order on 3 July 2020 to officially insert amendments into the Russian Constitution allowing him to run for two additional six year terms These amendments took effect on 4 July 2020 223 Since 11 July protests have been held in the Khabarovsk Krai in Russia s Far East in support of arrested regional governor Sergei Furgal 224 The 2020 Khabarovsk Krai protests have become increasingly anti Putin 225 226 A July 2020 Levada poll found that 45 of surveyed Russians supported the protests 227 On 22 December 2020 Putin signed a bill giving lifetime prosecutorial immunity to Russian ex presidents 228 229 Domestic policiesMain article Domestic policy of Vladimir Putin 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 230 On 13 May 2000 Putin introduced seven federal districts for administrative purposes On 19 January 2010 the 8th North Caucasus Federal District shown here in purple was split from Southern Federal District On 21 March 2014 the new 9th Crimean Federal District was formed after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation but on 28 July 2016 it was incorporated into Southern Federal District According to 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 231 Some commentators have described Putin s administration as a sovereign democracy 232 233 234 According to the proponents of that description primarily 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 235 The practice of the system is however characterized by Swedish economist Anders Aslund 236 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 Anders Aslund 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 See also 2011 2013 Russian protests Bolotnaya Square case and 2017 2018 Russian protestsSee also Freedom of assembly in Russia Media freedom in Russia and Internet censorship in Russia 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 237 238 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 239 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 240 241 In 2012 as proposed by Putin s successor Dmitry Medvedev the direct election of governors was re introduced 242 During his first term in office Putin opposed some of the Yeltsin era oligarchs as well as his political opponents resulting in the exile or imprisonment of such people as Boris Berezovsky Vladimir Gusinsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky other oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich and Arkady Rotenberg are friends and allies with Putin 243 Putin succeeded in codifying land law and tax law and promulgated new codes on labor administrative criminal commercial and civil procedural law 244 Under Medvedev s presidency Putin s government implemented some key reforms in the area of state security the Russian police reform and the Russian military reform 245 Economic industrial and energy policies See also Economy of Russia Russian financial crisis 2014 2016 Great Recession in Russia and Energy policy of Russia Russian GDP since the end of the Soviet Union from 2014 are forecasts 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 246 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 247 Fueled by the 2000s commodities boom including record high oil prices 12 13 under the Putin administration from 2000 to 2016 an increase in income in USD terms was 4 5 times 248 During Putin s first eight years in office industry grew substantially as did production construction real incomes credit and the middle class 249 250 A fund for oil revenue allowed Russia to repay all of the Soviet Union s debts by 2005 251 Russia joined the World Trade Organization on 22 August 2012 252 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 253 254 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 255 256 In 2014 Putin signed a deal to supply China with 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year Power of Siberia which Putin has called the world s biggest construction project was launched in 2019 and is expected continue for 30 years at an ultimate cost to China of 400bn 257 The ongoing financial crisis began in the second half of 2014 when the Russian ruble collapsed due to a decline in the price of oil and international sanctions against Russia These events in turn led to loss of investor confidence and capital flight though it has also been argued that the sanctions had little to no effect on Russia s economy 258 259 260 In 2014 the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project named Putin their Person of the Year Award for furthering corruption and organized crime 261 262 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 263 Environmental policy Main articles Environment of Russia and Environmental issues in Russia In 2004 President Putin signed the Kyoto Protocol treaty designed to reduce greenhouse gases 264 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 265 Putin personally supervises a number of protection programmes for rare and endangered animals in Russia such as the Amur tiger the white whale the polar bear and the snow leopard 266 267 268 269 Religious policy Main article Religion in Russia Putin with religious leaders of Russia February 2001 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 270 In 2012 Putin was honored in Bethlehem and a street was named after him 271 Putin regularly attends the most important services of the Russian Orthodox Church on the main holy days He established a good relationship with Patriarchs of the Russian Church the late Alexy II of Moscow and the current Kirill of Moscow As president he took an active personal part in promoting the Act of Canonical Communion with the Moscow Patriarchate signed 17 May 2007 that restored relations between the Moscow based Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia after the 80 year schism 272 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 273 274 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 275 In 2016 Ronald S Lauder the president of the World Jewish Congress also praised Putin for making Russia a country where Jews are welcome 276 Military development Main article 2008 Russian military reform Putin with Russia s long serving minister of defense Army General Sergey Shoygu in the Eastern Military District 2013 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 277 278 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 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 professional NCO 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 airbase system instead of regiments 279 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 According to the Kremlin Putin embarked a build up of Russia s nuclear capabilities because of U S President George W Bush s decision to withdraw from the 1972 Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty 280 Most analysts agree that Russia s nuclear strategy under Putin eventually brought it into violation of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty Because of this U S President Donald Trump announced the U S would no longer consider itself bound by the treaty s provisions raising nuclear tensions between the two powers 281 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 282 Most military analysts believe Russia would consider launching first if losing a major conventional conflict as part of an escalate to de escalate strategy that would bring adversaries to the negotiating table 283 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 at the North Pole 284 Both Russian submarines and troops deployed in the Arctic have been increasing 285 286 Human rights policy Main article Human rights in Russia See also Russian foreign agent law Russian Internet Restriction Bill and Dima Yakovlev Law Russian opposition protest in Moscow 26 February 2017 New York City based NGO Human Rights Watch in a report entitled Laws of Attrition authored by Hugh Williamson the British director of HRW s Europe amp 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 non governmental 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 287 288 Human rights activists have criticized Russia for censoring speech of LGBT activists due to the gay propaganda law 289 and increasing violence against LGBT people due to the law 290 291 292 In 2020 Putin signed a law on labeling individuals and organisations receiving funding from abroad as foreign agents The law is an expansion of foreign agent legislation adopted in 2012 293 294 As of June 2020 per Memorial Human Rights Center there were 380 political prisoners in Russia including 63 individuals prosecuted directly or indirectly for political activities including Alexey Navalny and 245 prosecuted for their involvement with one of the Muslim organizations that are banned in Russia 78 individuals on the list i e more than 20 of the total are residents of Crimea 295 296 The media See also Mass media in Russia and Media freedom in Russia Scott Gehlbach a Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin Madison has claimed that since 1999 Putin has systematically punished journalists who challenge his official point of view 297 Maria Lipman an American writing in Foreign Affairs 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 298 The Internet has attracted Putin s attention because his critics have tried to use it to challenge his control of information 299 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 300 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 Freedom House ranks Russian media as not free indicating that basic safeguards and guarantees for journalists and media enterprises are absent 301 In the early 2000s Putin began promoting the idea in Russian media that they are the modern day version of the 17th century Romanov tsars who ended Russia s Time of Troubles meaning they claim to be the peacemakers and stabilizers after the fall of the Soviet Union 302 Promoting conservatism Putin attends the Orthodox Christmas service in the village Turginovo in Kalininsky District Tver Oblast 7 January 2016 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 303 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 304 Vladislav Surkov a senior government official has been one of the key economics consultants during Putin s presidency 305 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 306 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 307 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 308 More broadly The New York Times 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 309 International sporting events Captain of the Canada national team Corey Perry giving Putin a hug after winning the gold medal at the 2016 IIHF World Championship In 2007 Putin led a successful effort on behalf of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Winter Paralympics 310 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 311 Wildlife protection and conservation Putin is chairman of the 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 the Russian Academy of Sciences 312 third party source needed Foreign policyMain article Foreign policy of Vladimir Putin See also Foreign relations of Russia and List of international presidential trips made by Vladimir Putin Putin s visit to the United States November 2001 Leonid Bershidsky analyzed Putin s interview with the Financial Times and concluded Putin is an imperialist of the old Soviet school rather than a nationalist or a racist and he has cooperated with and promoted people who are known to be gay 313 Putin spoke favorably of artificial intelligence in regards to foreign policy Artificial intelligence is the future not only for Russia but for all humankind It comes with colossal opportunities but also threats that are difficult to predict Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world 314 Mikhail Khodorkovsky stated Putin would like to sit at a table with the US president and maybe the president of China and just these three will decide the fate of the world 315 Asia See also India Russia relations Sino Russian relations since 1991 and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Putin with Xi Jinping during a state visit to Moscow May 2015 In 2012 Putin wrote an article in Indian newspaper The Hindu saying that The Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and Russia signed in October 2000 became a truly historic step 316 317 Today India remains the largest customer of Russian military equipment and the two countries share a historically strong strategic and diplomatic relationship 318 Russia under Putin has maintained positive relations with the Asian states of SCO and BRICS 319 320 In the 21st century Sino Russian relations have significantly strengthened bilaterally and economically the Treaty of Friendship and the construction of the ESPO oil pipeline and the Power of Siberia gas pipeline formed a special relationship between the two great powers 321 Post Soviet states Further information Colour revolution Russia Ukraine relations Belarus Russia relations Georgia Russia relations Kyrgyzstan Russia relations Kazakhstan Russia relations and Eurasian Economic Union The Eurasian Union with its current members Russia Belarus Kazakhstan Armenia and Kyrgyzstan Under Putin the Kremlin has consistently stated that Russia has a sphere of influence and privileged interests over other Post Soviet states which are referred to as the near abroad in Russia It has also been stated that the post Soviet states are strategically vital to Russian interests 322 Some Russia experts have compared this concept to the Monroe Doctrine 323 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 324 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 325 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 326 Following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution in March 2014 the Russian Federation annexed Crimea 327 328 329 According to Putin this was done because Crimea has always been and remains an inseparable part of Russia 330 After the Russian annexation of Crimea he said that Ukraine includes regions of Russia s historic south and was created on a whim by the Bolsheviks 331 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 331 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 332 With the split of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Russian Orthodox Church 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 333 334 In late August 2014 Putin stated People who have their own views on history and the history of our country may argue with me but it seems to me that the Russian and Ukrainian peoples are practically one people 335 After making a similar statement in late December 2015 he stated the Ukrainian culture as well as Ukrainian literature surely has a source of its own 336 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 other parts of Georgia then also opened a second front in the other Georgian breakaway province of Abkhazia with Abkhazian forces 337 338 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 339 340 the concept was proposed by the President of Kazakhstan in 1994 341 On 18 November 2011 the presidents of Belarus Kazakhstan and Russia signed an agreement setting a target of establishing the Eurasian Union by 2015 342 The Eurasian Union was established on 1 January 2015 343 United States Western Europe and NATO See also Russia NATO relations Russia United States relations and Anti American sentiment in Russia Putin with U S President Donald Trump at the summit meeting in Helsinki Finland 16 July 2018 Putin with U S President Joe Biden at the summit meeting in Geneva Switzerland 16 June 2021 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 the 9 11 attacks Putin quickly supported the U S in the War on Terror and the opportunity for partnership appeared 344 According to Stephen F Cohen the U S repaid by further expansion of NATO to Russia s borders and by unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty 344 but others pointed out the applications from new countries willing to join NATO was driven primarily by Russian s behavior in Chechnya Transnitria Abkhazia Yanayev putsch as well as calls to restore USSR in its previous borders by prominent Russian politicians 345 346 From 2003 when Russia strongly opposed the U S when it waged the Iraq War Putin became ever more distant from the West Relations steadily deteriorated According to Russia scholar Stephen F Cohen the narrative of the mainstream U S media following that of the White House became anti Putin 344 In an interview with Michael Sturmer 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 347 His view was that concessions by the West on one of the questions might be met with concessions from Russia on another 347 In a January 2007 interview Putin said Russia was in favor of a democratic multipolar world and strengthening the systems of international law 348 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 349 This came to be known as the Munich Speech and NATO secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called the speech disappointing and not helpful 350 The months following Putin s Munich Speech 349 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 351 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 352 Russia suspended its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty on 11 December 2007 353 Putin opposed Kosovo s 2008 declaration of independence warning that it would destabilize the whole system of international relations 354 After the 9 11 attacks on the U S in 2001 Putin had good relations with American President George W Bush and many western European leaders His cooler and more business like relationship with German chancellor Angela Merkel is often attributed to Merkel s upbringing in the former DDR where Putin was stationed as a KGB agent 355 He had a very friendly and warm relationship with the former Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi 356 the two leaders often described their relationship as a close friendship continuing to organize bilateral meetings even after Berlusconi s resignation in November 2011 357 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 American Edward Snowden who had leaked massive amounts of classified information from the NSA 358 359 In 2014 Russia was suspended from the G8 group as a result of its annexation of Crimea 360 361 However in June 2015 Putin told that Russia has no intention of attacking NATO 362 On 9 November 2016 Putin congratulated Donald Trump on becoming the 45th President of the United States 363 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 364 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 365 and in December 2016 Clinton accused Putin of having a personal grudge against her 366 367 According to Putin he like all of Russia has a particularly good relationship to neighboring country Finland 368 Picture of Putin handshaking with Sauli Niinisto the President of Finland in August 2019 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 369 However Putin has stated that U S Russian relations already at the lowest level since the end of the Cold War 370 have continued to deteriorate after Trump took office in January 2017 371 On 18 June 2020 The National Interest published a nine thousand word essay by Putin titled The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II 372 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 373 United Kingdom Putin and his wife Lyudmila meeting with Queen Elizabeth II her husband Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh and Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2005 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 374 This deterioration was intensified by allegations that the British were spying and making secret payments to pro democracy and human rights groups 375 Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko Main article Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko 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 374 Mirroring the British actions Russia expelled UK diplomats and took other retaliatory steps 374 In 2015 16 the British Government conducted an inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko 376 Its report states 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 Poisoning of Sergei Skripal Main article Poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal On 4 March 2018 former double agent Sergei Skripal was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury 377 Ten days later the British government formally accused the Russian state of attempted murder a charge which Russia denied 378 After the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats an action which would later be responded to with a Russian expulsion of 23 British diplomats 379 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 380 Australia and Latin America Putin with the President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro at the 2019 G20 summit in Osaka Japan See also Australia Russia relations Russia Venezuela relations Cuba Russia relations and Argentina Russia relations Putin and his successor Medvedev enjoyed warm relations with Hugo Chavez 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 381 In September 2008 Russia sent Tupolev Tu 160 bombers to Venezuela to carry out training flights 382 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 383 In September 2007 Putin visited Indonesia and in doing so became the first Russian leader to visit the country in more than 50 years 384 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 385 Middle East and North Africa See also Israel Russia relations and Iran Russia relations Putin with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan September 2018 On 16 October 2007 Putin visited Iran to participate in the Second Caspian Summit in Tehran 386 387 where he met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 388 389 This was the first visit of a Soviet or Russian leader 390 to Iran since Joseph Stalin s participation in the Tehran Conference in 1943 and thus marked a significant event in Iran Russia relations 391 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 392 Putin was quoted as describing Iran as a partner 347 though he expressed concerns over the Iranian nuclear programme 347 In April 2008 Putin became the first Russian President who visited Libya 393 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 394 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 395 396 Regarding Syria from 2000 to 2010 Russia sold around 1 5 billion worth of arms to that country making Damascus Moscow s seventh largest client 397 During the Syrian civil war Russia threatened to veto any sanctions against the Syrian government 398 and continued to supply arms to the regime Putin opposed any foreign intervention In June 2012 in Paris he rejected the statement of French President Francois 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 399 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 400 Putin subsequently helped to arrange for the destruction of Syria s chemical weapons 401 In 2015 he took a stronger pro Assad stance 402 and mobilized military support for the regime Some analysts have summarized Putin as being allied with Shiites and Alawites in the Middle East 403 404 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 405 Public imageMain article Public image of Vladimir Putin Putin opens the Wall of Grief a monument to victims of Stalinist repression 30 October 2017 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 406 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 407 By May 2014 Putin s approval rating hit its highest since 2008 and was 83 After EU and U S sanctions against Russian officials as a result of the crisis in Ukraine Putin s approval rating reached 87 according to a survey published on 6 August 2014 408 In February 2015 based on new domestic polling Putin was ranked the world s most popular politician 409 In June 2015 Putin s approval rating climbed to 89 an all time high 410 411 412 In 2016 the approval rating was 81 413 Observers saw Putin s high approval ratings in 2010 s as a consequence of significant improvements in living standards and Russia s reassertion of itself on the world scene during his presidency 414 415 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 416 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 417 Vladimir Putin approval 1999 2020 Levada 2020 418 In July 2018 Putin s approval rating fell to 63 and just 49 would vote for Putin if presidential elections were held 419 Levada poll results published in September 2018 showed Putin s personal trustworthiness levels at 39 decline from 59 in November 2017 420 with the main contributing factor being the presidential support of the unpopular pension reform and economic stagnation 421 422 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 423 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 424 In January 2019 the percentage of Russians trusting the president hit a then historic minimum 33 4 425 It declined further to 31 7 in May 2019 426 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 3 427 Nonetheless in April 2019 Gallup poll showed a record number of Russians 20 willing to permanently emigrate from Russia 428 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 429 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 427 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 closed question 430 and 27 when respondents were expected to name politicians they trust open question 431 In a closed question survey conducted by Levada the approval rating was 59 432 which has been attributed to continued post Crimea economic stagnation but also an apathetic response to the pandemic crisis in Russia 433 In another May 2021 Levada poll 33 indicated Putin in response to who would you vote for this weekend among Moscow respondents and 40 outside of Moscow 434 The Levada Center survey showed that 58 of surveyed Russians supported the 2017 Russian protests against high level corruption 435 Assessments Critics state that Putin has moved Russia in an autocratic direction weakening the system of representative government advocated by Boris Yeltsin 436 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 437 438 439 440 441 Former U S Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote in 2014 that the West has demonized Putin 442 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 443 Many Russians credit Putin for reviving Russia s fortunes 444 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 444 445 In 2015 opposition politician Boris Nemtsov said that Putin was turning Russia into a raw materials colony of China 446 Chechen Republic head and Putin supporter Ramzan Kadyrov states that Putin saved both the Chechen people and Russia 447 Russia has suffered democratic backsliding during Putin s tenure Freedom House has listed Russia as being not free since 2005 448 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 449 17 18 19 20 450 451 452 453 454 455 456 457 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 458 The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Russia as authoritarian since 2011 459 whereas it had previously been considered a hybrid regime with some form of democratic government in place as late as 2007 460 According to political scientist Larry Diamond writing in 2015 no serious scholar would consider Russia today a democracy 461 See also Media freedom in Russia Human rights in Russia and Internet censorship in Russia Personal image Main article Public image of Vladimir Putin Putin driving an F1 car 2010 see video 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 462 part of a public relations approach that according to Wired deliberately cultivates the macho take charge superhero image 463 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 464 Numerous Kremlinologists have accused Putin of seeking to create a cult of personality around himself an accusation that the Kremlin has denied 465 Some of Putin s activities have been criticised for being staged 466 467 outside of Russia his macho image has been the subject of parody 468 469 470 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 471 472 There are many songs about Putin 473 and Putin s name and image are widely used in advertisement and product branding 463 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 474 In 2015 his advisor Mikhail Lesin was found dead after days of excessive consumption of alcohol though this was later ruled an accident 475 Publication recognition in the United States In 2007 he was the Time Person of the Year 476 477 In 2015 he was No 1 on the Time s Most Influential People List 478 479 Forbes ranked him the World s Most Powerful Individual every year from 2013 to 2016 480 He was ranked the second most powerful individual by Forbes in 2018 481 Putinisms Putin has produced many aphorisms and catch phrases known as putinisms 482 Many of them were first made during his annual Q amp 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 to Russian jokes and folk sayings 482 Putin sometimes uses Russian criminal jargon known as fenya in Russian albeit not always correctly 483 Electoral historyMain article Electoral history of Vladimir PutinPersonal lifeFamily Putin and Lyudmila Putina at their wedding 28 July 1983 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 484 An investigation by Proekt Media published in November 2020 alleged that Putin has another daughter Elizaveta known as Luiza Rozova 485 born March 2003 486 with Svetlana Krivonogikh 4 487 In April 2008 the Moskovsky Korrespondent reported that Putin had divorced Lyudmila and was engaged to marry rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva 2 The story was denied 2 and the newspaper was shut down shortly thereafter 3 Putin and Lyudmila continued to make public appearances together as spouses while the status of his relationship with Kabaeva became a topic of speculation 488 489 490 491 In the subsequent years there were frequent reports that Putin and Kabaeva had multiple children together although these unsubstantiated reports were denied 492 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 finalized 493 494 495 In 2015 Kabaeva reportedly gave birth to a daughter Putin is alleged to be the father 492 489 5 In 2019 Kabaeva reportedly gave birth to twin sons by Putin 6 496 Putin has two grandsons born in 2012 and 2017 497 498 His cousin Igor Putin was a director at Moscow based Master Bank and was accused in a number of money laundering scandals 499 500 Personal wealth See also Panama Papers 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 501 502 Putin s reported 2006 income totaled 2 million rubles approximately 80 000 In 2012 Putin reported an income of 3 6 million rubles 113 000 503 504 Putin has been photographed wearing a number of expensive wristwatches collectively valued at 700 000 nearly six times his annual salary 505 506 Putin has been known on occasion to give watches valued at thousands of dollars as gifts to peasants and factory workers 507 Putin s close associate Arkady Rotenberg is mentioned in the Panama Papers pictured 2018 According to Russian opposition politicians and journalists Putin secretly possesses a multi billion dollar fortune 508 509 via successive ownership of stakes in a number of Russian companies 510 511 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 512 Russian RIA journalist argued that Western intelligence agencies could not find anything These contradictory claims were analyzed by Polygraph info 513 which looked at a number of reports by Western Anders Aslund 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 Polygraph info Are Putin s Billions a Myth In April 2016 11 million documents belonging to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked to the German newspaper Suddeutsche 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 514 However various media have reported on three of Putin s associates on the list 515 According to the Panama Papers leak close trusted associates of Putin own offshore companies worth US 2 billion in total 516 The German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung regards the possibility of Putin s family profiting from this money as plausible 517 518 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 519 520 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 515 There have been speculations that Putin in fact owns the funds 521 and Roldugin just acted as a proxy 522 Garry Kasparov said Putin controls enough money probably more than any other individual in the history of human race 523 Residences Official government residences Putin receives Barack Obama at his residence in Novo Ogaryovo 2009 As president and prime minister Putin has lived in numerous official residences throughout the country 524 These residences include the Moscow Kremlin Novo Ogaryovo in Moscow Oblast Gorki 9 ru near Moscow Bocharov Ruchey in Sochi Dolgiye Borody ru in Novgorod Oblast and Riviera in Sochi 525 In August 2012 critics of Putin listed the ownership of 20 villas and palaces nine of which were built during Putin s 12 years in power 526 Personal residences 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 527 A massive Italianate style mansion costing an alleged US 1 billion 528 and dubbed Putin s Palace is under construction near the Black Sea village of Praskoveevka 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 529 He also said that the mansion built on government land and sporting 3 helipads a private road paid for from state funds and guarded by officials wearing uniforms of the official Kremlin guard service have been built for Putin s private use 530 Putin s spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed Kolesnikov s allegations against Putin as untrue saying that Putin has never had any relationship to this palace 531 On 19 January 2021 two days after Alexei Navalny was detained by Russian authorities upon his return to Russia a video investigation by him and the Anti Corruption Foundation FBK was published accusing Putin of using fraudulently obtained funds to build the estate for himself in what he called the world s biggest bribe In the investigation Navalny said that the estate is 39 times the size of Monaco and cost over 100 billion rubles 1 35 billion to construct It also showed aerial footage of the estate via a drone and a detailed floorplan of the palace that Navalny said was given by a contractor which he compared to photographs from inside the palace that were leaked onto the Internet in 2011 He also detailed an elaborate corruption scheme allegedly involving Putin s inner circle that allowed Putin to hide billions of dollars to build the estate 532 533 534 Pets Main article Pets of Vladimir Putin Putin has received five dogs from various nation leaders Konni Buffy Yume Verni and Pasha Konni died in 2014 When Putin first became president the family had two poodles Tosya and Rodeo They reportedly stayed with his ex wife Lyudmila after their divorce 535 Religion Putin and wife Lyudmila in New York at a service for victims of the September 11 attacks 16 November 2001 Putin is Russian Orthodox His mother was a devoted Christian believer who attended the Russian Orthodox Church while his father was an atheist 536 Though his mother kept no icons 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 29 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 536 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 29 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 537 Putin s rumoured confessor is Russian Orthodox Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov 538 However the sincerity of his Christianity has been rejected by his former advisor Sergei Pugachev 539 Sports Putin watches football and supports FC Zenit Saint Petersburg 540 He displays an interest in ice hockey and bandy 541 Putin has been practicing judo since he was 11 years old 542 before switching to sambo at the age of fourteen 543 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 544 Putin also practises karate 545 He co authored a book entitled Judo with Vladimir Putin in Russian and Judo History Theory Practice in English 2004 546 Benjamin Wittes a black belt in taekwondo and aikido and editor of Lawfare has disputed Putin s martial arts skills stating that there is no video evidence of Putin displaying any real noteworthy judo skills 547 548 HonoursCivilian awards presented by different countries Date Country Decoration Presenter Notes7 March 2001 Vietnam Order of Ho Chi Minh 549 Vietnam s second highest distinction2004 Kazakhstan Order of the Golden Eagle 550 Kazakhstan s highest distinction22 September 2006 France Legion d honneur 551 President Jacques Chirac Grand Croix Grand Cross rank is the highest French decoration2007 Tajikistan Order of Ismoili Somoni 552 Tajikistan s highest distinction12 February 2007 Saudi Arabia Order of Abdulaziz al Saud 553 King Abdullah Saudi Arabia s highest civilian award10 September 2007 UAE Order of Zayed 554 Sheikh Khalifa UAE s highest civil decoration2 April 2010 Venezuela Order of the Liberator 555 President Hugo Chavez Venezuela s highest distinction4 October 2013 Monaco Order of Saint Charles 556 Prince Albert Monaco s highest decoration11 July 2014 Cuba Order of Jose Marti 557 President Raul Castro Cuba s highest decoration16 October 2014 Serbia Order of the Republic of Serbia 558 President Tomislav Nikolic Grand Collar Serbia s highest award3 October 2017 Turkmenistan Order For contribution to the development of cooperation President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow22 November 2017 Kyrgyzstan Order of Manas President Almazbek Atambayev8 June 2018 China Order of Friendship 559 President Xi Jinping People s Republic of China s highest order of honour28 May 2019 Kazakhstan Order of Nazarbayev 560 Elbasy Nursultan NazarbayevHonorary doctorates Date University Institute2001 Baku Slavic University 561 2001 Yerevan State University 562 2001 Athens University 563 2011 University of Belgrade 564 Other awards Year Award Notes2006 Order of Sheikh ul Islam Highest Muslim order 565 awarded for his role in interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Christians in the region 566 24 March 2011 Order of Saint Sava 567 Serbian Orthodox Church s highest distinction 15 November 2011 Confucius Peace Prize The China International Peace Research Centre awarded the Confucius Peace Prize to Putin citing as reason Putin s opposition to NATO s Libya bombing in 2011 while also paying tribute to his decision to go to war in Chechnya in 1999 568 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 569 2015 Angel of Peace Medal Pope Francis presented Putin with the Angel of Peace Medal 570 which is a customary gift to presidents visiting the Vatican 571 Recognition Year Award Recognition Description2007 Time 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 outsize if not always benign influence on global affairs 572 December 2007 Expert Person of the Year A Russian business oriented weekly magazine named Putin as its Person of the Year 573 5 October 2008 Vladimir Putin Avenue The central street of Grozny the capital of Russia s Republic of Chechnya was renamed from the Victory Avenue to the Vladimir Putin Avenue as ordered by the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov 574 deprecated source February 2011 Vladimir Putin Peak The parliament of Kyrgyzstan named a peak in Tian Shan mountains Vladimir Putin Peak 575 deprecated source References Vladimir Putin quits as head of Russia s ruling party 24 April 2012 via The Daily Telegraph a b c Putin Romance Rumors Keep Public Riveted Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty 18 April 2008 Archived from the original on 3 October 2021 Retrieved 3 October 2021 a b Herszenhorn David M 5 May 2012 Written at Moscow In the Spotlight of Power Putin Keeps His Private Life Veiled in 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February 2012 Putin Addressing Rally Casts Himself as Unifier The Wall Street Journal 24 February 2012 Pro Putin rally draws tens of thousands Al Jazeera 23 February 2012 Vladimir Putin inaugurated as Russian president amid Moscow protests The Guardian 7 May 2012 Retrieved 20 January 2014 Putin decrees EU closeness policy Voice of Russia English ruvr ru 7 May 2012 Archived from the original on 13 May 2013 Retrieved 22 June 2013 Gosduma prinyala zakon o netradicionnyh otnosheniyah The State Duma has adopted a law on non traditional relationships BBC Russia in Russian 11 June 2013 Archived from the original on 1 March 2014 Retrieved 11 June 2013 GD prinyala zakon ob usilenii nakazaniya za propagandu gomoseksualizma sredi podrostkov RBC 11 June 2013 Archived from the original on 3 October 2013 Retrieved 11 June 2013 SPIEGEL ONLINE Hamburg Germany 6 April 2012 Discrimination in Russia Arrests for Violation of St Petersburg Anti Gay Law Der Spiegel CS1 maint multiple names authors list link Russian parliament backs ban on gay propaganda Reuters 25 January 2013 Reuters 25 January 2013 Jivanda Tomas 19 January 2014 Vladimir Putin I know some people who are gay we re on friendly terms The Independent London Retrieved 8 February 2014 Putin becomes Popular Front for Russia leader Interfax Ukraine 13 June 2013 Archived 15 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine Echo of Soviet era in Putin s bid for votes The Australian 17 June 2011 Putin inaugurates new movement amid fresh protests BBC 12 June 2013 Retrieved 12 June 2013 BBC Radio 4 Analysis Maskirovka Deception Russian Style BBC Retrieved 11 April 2015 Lally Kathy 17 April 2014 Putin s remarks raise fears of future moves against Ukraine The Washington Post Retrieved 14 September 2014 President of Russia Eng kremlin ru 1 June 2010 Retrieved 20 April 2014 Per Liljas 19 August 2014 Rebels in Besieged Ukrainian City Reportedly Being Reinforced Time Time Retrieved 28 August 2014 How the war zone transformed between June 16 and Sept 19 Kyiv Post 25 September 2014 Retrieved 21 March 2015 Exclusive Charred tanks in Ukraine point to Russian involvement Reuters 23 October 2014 Debaltseve pocket in Donbas was created mainly by Russian troops Yashin unian info 8 April 2015 Retrieved 15 October 2020 Channel 4 News 2 September 2014 tensions still high in Ukraine Luke Harding 17 December 2014 Ukraine ceasefire leaves frontline counting cost of war in uneasy calm The Guardian Retrieved 29 December 2014 Kiev claims intensive movements of troops crossing from Russia Agence France Presse 2 November 2014 Archived from the original on 14 November 2014 Retrieved 13 November 2014 various reuters 9 November 2014 worst east Ukraine shelling for month Reuters Retrieved 10 November 2014 Spot report by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine SMM 8 November 2014 osce org 8 November 2014 Retrieved 9 November 2014 Ukraine Crisis Russian Cargo 200 Crossed Border OSCE BBC UK 13 November 2014 Retrieved 13 November 2014 OBSE zayavlyaet chto na rostovskih KPP byli mashiny s nadpisyu gruz 200 in Russian RIA Novosti 6 August 2015 Retrieved 7 August 2015 Moscow Stifles Dissent as Soldiers Return From Ukraine in Coffins The Moscow Times Reuters 12 September 2014 Retrieved 9 November 2014 Response to Special Representative in Ukraine Ambassador Martin Sajdik and OSCE Special Monitoring Mission Chief Monitor Ertugrul Apakan U S Mission to the OSCE 4 November 2015 Archived from the original on 22 December 2015 Retrieved 6 November 2015 Russia said to redeploy special ops forces from Ukraine to Syria Fox News Channel 24 October 2015 Retrieved 24 October 2015 The special forces were pulled out of Ukraine and sent to Syria a Russian Ministry of Defense official said adding that they had been serving in territories in eastern Ukraine held by pro Russia rebels The official described them as akin to a Delta Force the U S Army s elite counterterrorism unit Walker Shaun 17 December 2015 Putin admits Russian military presence in Ukraine for first time The Guardian Rutland Peter 18 May 2014 A Paradigm Shift in Russia s Foreign Policy The Moscow Times Retrieved 14 October 2020 Zevelev Igor 27 April 2014 Granicy russkogo mira The Borders of the Russian World Rossiya v globalnoj politike in Russian Retrieved 14 October 2020 a b c Tsygankov Andrei 4 July 2015 Vladimir Putin s last stand the sources of Russia s Ukraine policy Post Soviet Affairs 31 4 279 303 doi 10 1080 1060586x 2015 1005903 ISSN 1060 586X S2CID 154892438 Patrick J McDonnell W J Hennigan Nabih Bulos 30 September 2015 Russia Launches Airstrikes in Syria Amid U S Concern About Targets Los Angeles Times Retrieved 7 October 2015 Clashes between Syrian troops insurgents intensify in Russian backed offensive U S News amp World Report 8 October 2015 Archived from the original on 9 October 2015 Retrieved 10 October 2015 Dearden Lizzie 8 October 2015 Syrian army general says new ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes will eliminate terrorists The Independent Retrieved 10 October 2015 Syria conflict Russia s Putin orders main part of forces out BBC World Service 14 March 2016 Retrieved 14 March 2016 Novosti NEWSru com Genshtab VS RF obyavil o novyh aviaudarah po terroristam v Sirii 18 March 2016 Retrieved 9 April 2016 Background to Assessing Russian Activities in Recent US Elections The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution The New York Times 6 January 2016 p 11 Retrieved 8 January 2017 We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President elect Trump Sanger David E 6 January 2017 Putin Ordered Influence Campaign Aimed at U S Election Report Says The New York Times Kiely Eugene Gore D Angelo 19 February 2018 In His Own Words Trump on Russian Meddling FactCheck org Greenberg Don 19 February 2018 Donald Trump falsely says he never denied Russian meddling Politifact Retrieved 6 April 2018 Putin says claims of Russian meddling in U S election are just some kind of hysteria Los Angeles Times 2 June 2017 Filipov David 23 December 2016 Putin to Democratic Party You lost get over it The Washington Post Retrieved 21 July 2017 Don t be sore losers That was how Putin answered a question Friday at his nationally televised annual news conference about whether Russia interfered in the U S presidential election in favor of Donald Trump The Democrats are losing on all fronts and looking elsewhere for things to blame he told the nearly 1 400 journalists packed into a Moscow convention hall for the nearly four hour event In my view this how shall I say it degrades their own dignity You have to know how to lose with dignity Walker Shaun 30 March 2017 Read my lips no Putin denies Russian meddling in US presidential election The Guardian Retrieved 21 July 2017 Read my lips no the Russian president answered when asked whether Russia had tried to influence the vote He emphasized the denial by saying no in English Fahrenthold David A 4 June 2017 Putin calls U S election meddling charge a load of nonsense in Megyn Kelly interview The Washington Post Retrieved 21 July 2017 There s a theory that Kennedy s assassination was arranged by the United States intelligence services So if this theory is correct and that can t be ruled out then the same agencies could fabricate evidence of Russian hacking Putin said Liptak Kevin 8 July 2017 Trump officials decline to rebut Russia s claims that Trump seemed to accept election denials CNN Retrieved 21 July 2017 Top advisers to President Donald Trump declined three times on Saturday to rebut claims from Russian officials that Trump had accepted their denials of alleged Russian interference in the US election Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters that Trump appeared to accept his assertion that Russia did not meddle in the US presidential contest Megyn Kelly Drills Vladimir Putin on Presidential Election Hack Russia s Ties With Trump Video Yahoo News 7 June 2017 Retrieved 8 October 2017 Presidents come and go and even the parties in power change but the main political direction does not change That s why in the grand scheme of things we don t care who s the head of the United States We know more or less what is going to happen And so in this regard even if we wanted to it wouldn t make sense for us to interfere Pinchuk Denis 1 June 2017 Patriotic Russians may have staged cyber attacks on own initiative Putin Reuters Retrieved 26 May 2021 Putin says Jews Ukrainians Tatars could be behind U S election meddling USA TODAY Retrieved 26 May 2021 Sanger David E Rosenberg Matthew 18 July 2018 From the Start Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message Putin Interfered The New York Times Alina Polyakova The Kremlin s Plot against Democracy How Russia Updated Its 2016 Playbook for 2020 Foreign Affairs 99 5 2020 140 145 Muted Western reaction to Putin victory BBC News 19 March 2018 Retrieved 19 March 2018 Kogda budet inauguraciya prezidenta RF aif ru 19 March 2018 Retrieved 20 March 2018 Russia s Putin wins by big margin BBC News 18 March 2018 Retrieved 18 March 2018 Putin predlozhil kandidaturu Medvedeva na post premera RIA Novosti 7 May 2018 Otkrytie avtodorozhnoj chasti Krymskogo mosta Kremlin ru in Russian 15 May 2018 Retrieved 15 May 2018 Prezident podpisal ukazy o sostave novogo Pravitelstva Kremlin ru in Russian 18 May 2018 Retrieved 18 May 2018 Putin says will step down as president after term expires in 2024 Reuters Reuters Staff 25 May 2018 Retrieved 16 November 2020 CS1 maint others link The Observer view on Putin s ongoing corruption of democracy The Guardian 8 September 2019 Retrieved 8 September 2019 Soldatkin Vladimir Osborn Andrew 15 January 2020 Putin shake up could keep him in power past 2024 as cabinet steps aside Reuters Retrieved 24 December 2020 Ilyushina Mary McKenzie Sheena 15 January 2020 Russian government resigns as Putin proposes reforms that could extend his grip on power CNN Retrieved 16 November 2020 Pravitelstvo Rossii uhodit v otstavku RIA Novosti in Russian 15 January 2020 Retrieved 15 January 2020 Putin predlozhil Medvedevu dolzhnost zampredsedatelya Sovbeza Soldatkin Vladimir Marrow Alexander 16 January 2020 Stonestreet John ed Russian lawmakers approve Mishustin as PM Reuters Archived from the original on 16 January 2020 Retrieved 16 January 2020 Mishustin received 383 votes of 424 cast with no votes against and 41 abstentions in a victory that had been all but assured when he won the unanimous backing of his party United Russia which has a strong majority in the chamber Gosduma odobrila Mishustina na post premera iz ru in Russian 16 January 2020 Retrieved 15 October 2020 Mihail Mishustin naznachen Predsedatelem Pravitelstva Rossijskoj Federacii Archived from the original on 16 January 2020 Retrieved 16 January 2020 Ukaz o strukture federalnyh organov ispolnitelnoj vlasti Prezident Rossii Podpisany ukazy o naznachenii ministrov Pravitelstva Rossijskoj Federacii Prezident Rossii Naznacheny ministry vnutrennih del inostrannyh del oborony yusticii i glava MChS Rossii Prezident Rossii Kreml obyasnil raznicu v polnomochiyah Sobyanina i Mishustina po virusu RBK in Russian Retrieved 21 March 2020 Russian army to send coronavirus help to Italy after Putin phone call Reuters 22 March 2020 Retrieved 22 March 2020 Eto kosmos kak Putin posetil bolnicu v Kommunarke Gazeta ru 27 March 2020 Retrieved 24 March 2020 Peskov soobshil o regulyarnyh testah Putina na koronavirus Interfax in Russian 3 April 2020 Retrieved 31 March 2020 Putin pereshel na udalenku Rosbalt in Russian 3 April 2020 Retrieved 1 April 2020 Putin data golosovaniya po popravkam k Konstitucii dolzhna byt perenesena TASS 25 March 2020 Putin calls on Russians to stay home due to coronavirus TASS 25 March 2020 Coronavirus in Russia The Latest News The Moscow Times 25 March 2020 Address to the Nation President of Russia 25 March 2020 Retrieved 25 March 2020 They need to quarantine Moscow How small businesses in Russia s capital are scrambling to stay afloat as coronavirus clobbers the economy Meduza 27 March 2020 Retrieved 27 March 2020 Bankrolling Russia s relief program Putin has proposed sweeping tax cuts to shore up vulnerable businesses as coronavirus cripples the economy but a lot more might be needed and it s unclear who would foot the bill Meduza 26 March 2020 Retrieved 27 March 2020 Putin signs decree on non working days for Russian citizens until April 30 TASS 2 April 2020 Retrieved 2 April 2020 Putin Sets Off Meme Storm By Comparing Medieval Invaders to Coronavirus Quarantine The Moscow Times 8 April 2020 Retrieved 2 May 2020 Putin s Virus Response Earns Lower Marks Than Local Leaders Poll The Moscow Times 30 April 2020 Retrieved 2 May 2020 Gershkovich Evan 14 May 2020 As the Coronavirus Contagion Grows in Russia Putin s Strongman Image Weakens The Moscow Times Retrieved 14 May 2020 Galeotti Mark 12 May 2020 Putin Withdraws From the Coronavirus Crisis in a Political Abdication The Moscow Times Russia s technocrat in chief Meduza 11 October 2019 Litvinova Daria 13 August 2021 Putin reveals he was vaccinated with Russia s Sputnik V AP News Associated Press Retrieved 14 September 2021 Litvinova Daria 14 September 2021 Putin in self isolation due to COVID cases in inner circle AP News Associated Press Putin orders constitution changes allowing him to rule until 2036 Al Jazeera 3 July 2020 Retrieved 11 August 2020 Anti Putin Protests in Russia s Far East Gather Steam Voice of America Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty Russia 25 July 2020 Retrieved 11 August 2020 Troianovski Anton 25 July 2020 Protests Swell in Russia s Far East in a Stark New Challenge to Putin The New York Times Retrieved 11 August 2020 Odynova Alexandra 3 August 2020 Written at Moscow Anti Kremlin protests continue in Russia s far east for 24 consecutive days CBS News New York City Retrieved 11 August 2020 PROTESTY V HABAROVSKE Levada Center 28 July 2020 Putin signs bill granting lifetime immunity to former Russian presidents The Guardian Moscow 22 December 2020 Retrieved 24 December 2020 Russia s Putin signs bill giving ex presidents lifetime immunity Al Jazeera 20 December 2020 Retrieved 24 December 2020 World Freedom Foundation 2015 Vladimir Putin Direct Speech Without Cuts p 44 ISBN 978 1 329 39092 8 White Stephen 2010 Classifying Russia s Politics In White Stephen ed Developments in Russian Politics 7 New York Palgrave Macmillan ISBN 978 0 230 22449 0 R Sakwa Putin Russia s Choice 2008 pp 42 43 Okara Andrei July September 2007 Sovereign Democracy A New Russian Idea Or a PR Project PDF Russia in Global Affairs 5 3 Archived from the original PDF on 10 April 2016 Petrov Nikolai December 2005 From Managed Democracy to Sovereign Democracy PDF Center for Political Geographic Research Cite journal requires journal help Surkov Vladislav 7 February 2006 Sovereignty is a Political Synonym of Competitiveness Archived from the original on 12 February 2008 Retrieved 18 August 2016 Aslund Anders The Illusions of Putin s Russia Atlantic Council Retrieved 16 June 2019 Lynch Dov 2005 The enemy is at the gate Russia after Beslan International Affairs 81 1 141 161 Putin tightens grip on security BBC News 13 September 2004 Prezidentskoe filtrovanie gubernatorov ocenili politiki Radiovesti ru Retrieved 7 May 2012 Kramer Andrew E 22 April 2007 50 Good News Is the Bad News in Russian Radio The New York Times Russia Retrieved 24 September 2011 Masha Lipman Anders Aslund 2 December 2004 Russian Media Criticism of Vladimir Putin Evidence and Significance Carnegieendowment org Retrieved 2 March 2010 State Duma Approves Liberal Political Reforms RIA Novosti 28 February 2012 Retrieved 7 May 2012 Arkady Rotenberg Forbes 2013 Retrieved 23 December 2013 Sharlet Robert 2005 In Search of the Rule of Law In White Gitelman Sakwa eds Developments in Russian Politics 6 Duke University Press ISBN 978 0 8223 3522 1 Main John 2009 Russia country study guide army and national Place of publication not identified Intl Business Pubns Usa ISBN 978 1 4387 4042 3 OCLC 946230798 Guriyev Sergey 16 August 2019 20 Years of Vladimir Putin The Transformation of the Economy The Moscow Times Retrieved 15 October 2020 Aris Ben Tkachev Ivan 19 August 2019 Long Read 20 Years of Russia s Economy Under Putin in Numbers The Moscow Times Retrieved 15 October 2020 Becker Torbjorn 15 March 2018 The Russian Economy Under Putin So Far PDF freepolicybriefs org Free Network p 3 Retrieved 16 October 2020 Malofeeva Katya Brenton Tim 15 August 2007 Putin s Economy Eight Years On Russia Profile Archived from the original on 18 October 2014 Retrieved 23 April 2008, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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