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Vladimir Putin Biography: Early Life, Education, Political Career, and Personal Life

Vladimir Putin, a former intelligence agent and politician from Russia, has served as the country’s president. He is the longest-serving Russian or Soviet leader since Joseph Stalin, having served in various capacities as president or prime minister since 1999. Before leaving the KGB in 1991 to pursue a career in politics, Putin spent 16 years working as a foreign intelligence officer for the organization. Before taking office as prime minister in 1999, he held temporary positions as secretary of the Russian Security Council and director of the Federal Security Service. Under Dmitry Medvedev, he held the office of president and was reelected in 2018. 
In addition to leading Russia in the fight against Chechen separatists, Putin oversaw 7% annual economic growth during his first time in office. But under his leadership, massive human rights abuses and pervasive corruption have resulted in Russia routinely scoring poorly on a number of indices. Putin is the second-longest serving president in Europe and the longest serving president in Russia.
Early Life

Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin and Maria Ivanovna Putina welcomed Vladimir into the world on October 7, 1952, in Leningrad, Soviet Union.

After serving as a conscript in the Soviet Navy, his father became an officer in the regular army. His father fought in the destruction battalion during the Nazi invasion, while his mother worked in a factory.

Vladimir Putin’s uncles vanished during World War II, and his grandmother died in 1941.

Education

Vladimir Putin started attending School No. 193 in 1960, and at the age of twelve, he started training in judo and sambo.

At Saint Petersburg High School 281, where he studied German, he received his diploma in 1975 along with a thesis on “The Most Favored Nation Trading Principle in International Law.”

Anatoly Sobchak, who subsequently co-wrote the Russian constitution and was involved in corruption schemes in France, was introduced to him when he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).

He researched energy dependence and how it is used in foreign policy while earning his degree in economics from Saint Petersburg Mining University in 1997. By Western standards, Putin is an accused plagiarist.

KGB Career

Vladimir Putin enlisted in the KGB in 1975 and attended the 401st KGB School in Leningrad for training. In Leningrad, he served in the First Chief Directorate and the Second Chief Directorate (counterintelligence), where he kept an eye on foreigners and consular personnel.

He was dispatched to Moscow in 1984 to attend the Yuri Andropov Red Banner Institute for additional training. Putin worked as a translator undercover in Dresden, East Germany, from 1985 until 1990.

Serving as a liaison officer between the KGB and the Stasi secret police, he reportedly rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Vladimir Putin’s old KGB colleague Vladimir Usoltsev and former Stasi spy head Markus Wolf minimized his work, but some journalists think this was a cover for his involvement in KGB coordination and support for the terrorist Red Army Faction.

Vladimir Putin preserved for the official authorities of the future unified Germany the records from the Soviet Cultural Center and the KGB house in Dresden during the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Suspicion about Putin’s loyalty during the Dresden demonstrations and earlier periods led to his resignation from the KGB following the fall of the Communist East German government.

He joined the “active reserves” and went back to Leningrad in early 1990, where he worked for Leningrad State University’s International Affairs department.

Political Career

In 1990, Leningrad’s mayor appointed Putin as an advisor on foreign policy. After leaving the KGB, Putin became head of the Committee for External Relations, overseeing foreign investments and international relations.

Vladimir Putin  served in various political and administrative capacities in Saint Petersburg, including first deputy chairman of the government. In 1996, Putin resigned and relocated to Moscow. President Boris Yeltsin appointed him as deputy head of the Presidential Property Management Department.

In 1998, he was named director of the Federal Security Service. In 1999, Putin became acting prime minister, promising to support the Unity Party. After Yeltsin’s resignation, Putin became Acting President, promising no corruption cases.

In 2000, he won the presidential election with 53% of the vote, showcasing his appeal and image of law and order.

In 2000, President Putin appointed Mikhail Kasyanov as prime minister, but faced criticism for handling the Kursk submarine disaster. After rebuilding Russia, he gained public approval, leading to the Republic of Chechnya becoming part of Russia in 2003.

Putin faced criticism for not shielding independent media. Russia faced poor social safety net and declining life expectancy before his takeover. In 2007, Putin declared Russia would not adhere to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.

The Constitution prevented Putin from serving a third term in office in 2008, and Dmitry Medvedev, the first deputy prime minister, was chosen to succeed him.

Between 2008 to 2011, Vladimir Putin’s second term as prime minister was devoted to stabilizing Russia’s population and mitigating the effects of the global economic crisis. Putin ruled the Gazprom chessboard during this reign, which included the 2009 gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Personal Life

In 1983, Vladimir Putin wed Lyudmila Shkrebneva, and the two had two daughters, Yekaterina and Mariya. The Moskovsky correspondent revealed in 2008 that Putin was engaged to Olympic gold medallist Alina Kabaeva and had divorced Lyudmila.

The divorce was formalized in 2014, despite the couple having announced their nuptials in 2013. Although Kabaeva gave birth to twin sons and a daughter, the allegations were refuted.

Vladimir Putin has a granddaughter and two grandsons. Igor Putin, his cousin, was implicated in controversies involving money laundering.

Net worth

Vladimir Putin’s fortune is estimated to be around $280,000, including a private apartment in Saint Petersburg and bank accounts.

Opposition lawmakers and journalists claim he has a multibillion dollar fortune hidden due to his ownership positions in multiple Russian businesses.

Polygraph.info found that Western intelligence services have not found proof of Putin’s riches, as 11 million Panama Papers papers reveal close cronies possessing offshore businesses worth $2 billion.

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