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A Profile of Vladimir Putin

: Gazeta.Ru  

Vladimir Putin was born in Leningrad (now, St.Petersburg) on October 7, 1952. Putins father, Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin fought in the World War II in the defence of Leningrad in which he received multiple shrapnel wounds.

Putins mother Maria Ivanovna Putin was from the Tver Region and lived through the siege of Leningrad during World War II. Vladimirs two elder brothers died young. Vladimir was a late child. His mother gave birth to him when she was 41. She was a deeply religious woman and had her son Vladimir secretly baptised by a Russian Orthodox priest.

Vladimir Putin studied at the Leningrad Faculty of Law and obtained the equivalent of a doctorate in economics (kandidat). He speaks fluent German, which he has demonstrated in meetings with the German and Austrian heads of state. He is currently taking English lessons in order to establish closer personal ties and reach better understanding with his U.S. and British counterparts.

In his youth Vladimir Putin took great interest in the martial arts. In 1973 he became a master of sambo, a Russian self-defence martial art, and later switched to judo in which he has gained a black belt. He won several of St.Petersburgs sambo championships.

Vladimir Putin married Ludmila Alexandrovna in 1983. His spouse graduated from the Philology Department of the Leningrad State University. Lyoudmila speaks German, Spanish and French. The Putins have two daughters, Maria (born 1985) and Yekaternia (born 1986).

Following graduation the Leningrad State University Faculty of Law in 1975, Vladimir Putin was commissioned to work for the State Security Committee (KGB).

In 1984, Putin was sent to the KGB Red Banner Academy and Foreign Intelligence School, and upon completion of his studies in 1985 he was posted to East Germany (German Democratic Republic) where he served until 1990. On returning to the Soviet Union he discovered the country had changed radically and on August 20th, 1991 he resigned from the security service and Lieutenant-Colonel Vladimir Putin was transferred to the KGB reserve.

As from 1990 Vladimir Putin worked as an assistant to the rector of the Leningrad State University Stanislav Merkouriev and was in charge of international issues. Putin then became advisor to the then-chairman of the Leningrad city council Anatoly Sobchak. Vladimir Putin had known Anatoly Sobchak since his days at the Leningrad State University, whereat the latter lectured when Putin was a student. Their acquaintance was renewed thanks to Stanislav Merkouriev who recommended Putin to Sobchak for is efficiency and industriousness. Sobchak invited Putin to join his team of pro-democratic reformers, many of whom Putin has brought into his team in the Kremlin.

Some allege that the KGB planted Putin in Sobchaks administration. But, notwithstanding those rumours, Putin proved his allegiance to Sobchak and enjoyed his full confidence.

After Anatoly Sobchak was elected Mayor of St.Petersburg on June 12, 1991, Putin was appointed chairman of the Mayors Office Committee for International Relations. Vladimir Putin supervised investment policies and was in charge of joint ventures and cooperation with foreign business partners.

The chairman of the St.Petersburg legislature Alexander Belyayev accused Putin of introducing KGB methods into the foreign relations committee he headed. Alexander Belyayev claimed that Putins subordinates gathered and compiled information on commercial firms, and consequently handed the reports to foreign companies.

Putin personally oversaw the creation of the St.Petersburg Currency Exchange and cleared the way for a number of leading German firms to enter the Russian market. He personally assisted the BNP-Dresdner Bank to open in the northern capital which was one of the first branches of a foreign bank to open in Russia.

Putin took active part in the organisation of the Russo-American Good Will Games, and it was then that he became acquainted with the US media tycoon Ted Turner.

As from 1993, during his frequent trips abroad the St.Petersburg Mayor Sobchak left Putin in full charge of the St. Petersburg Mayors Office. In addition to his post as head of the foreign relations committee, Putin was also appointed to supervise the work of the Mayors Office commission for operative matters.

In the spring of 1995 Vladimir Putin run Anatoly Sobkchaks mayoral election campaign. After Sobchak lost, Putin resigned from all his posts. Soon afterwards, in August, Putin received an invitation from Moscow to work as deputy head of the Presidential Property Fund, then headed by Pavel Borodin.

But Vladimir Putin continued political activities in the northern capital. Firstly, in May 1995 in view of the forthcoming State Duma parliamentary elections in December, Sobchak commissioned Putin to set up and lead the St.Petersburg branch of Our Home Russia, the then-pro-Kremlin political movement.

Also, Vladimir Putins long running court battle with Alexander Belyaev remained unresolved. Alexander Belyaev had stood against Anatoly Sobchak in the mayors elections. In his election campaign speeches Belyayev accused Putin of power abuse and corruption and claimed Putin was involved in economic violations and alleged Putin possessed property on the Atlantic coast in France.

In response, Putin sued Belyaev and demanded 200 million rubles compensation for moral damage. However, hearings were postponed several times.

At first, it emerged, that Putins suit was filed with infringement of venue the suit was filed not in the court of the district where the defendant lived. (Under Russian civil procedure legislation a lawsuit is to be filed in court located in the same area where a defendant permanently resides).

A malicious headline in a local paper read: A spy ought to know where his foe lives. Putin filed the suit again, now in a different court, but again the litigation was postponed owing to questions of procedure. Newspapers alleged that in court Putin had sincerely admitted that he had no notion whatsoever where the French Atlantic coast is.

In Moscow Vladimir Putins political career developed rapidly.

On March 26, 1997 he was appointed as a deputy in the presidential administration, head of the Kremlin Chief Control Department, the department that oversees the implementation of presidential decrees, where he proved to be a stern enforcer.

He succeeded Alexei Kudrin, who was appointed deputy head of the finance ministry. Alexei Kudrin is now the Minister of Finance. Putin had known Kudrin since the days of the Sobchak election campaign in St.Petersburg. Later Putin admitted that Kudrin had personally recommended Putin as his successor for the post.

In May 1998 Putin became the first deputy head of the administration in charge of regional policies. At the same time he retained his post of as head of the Chief Control Department. However, a month later Putin handed his post in the Chief Control Department to Nikolai Patroushev.

Putin then combined jobs as the first deputy head of administration and the chairman of the commission in charge of drafting treaties on delimitation of powers between the federal authorities and the regions, a post he took over from Sergey Shakhrai. So, it is possible to say that since 1998 Putin has extensive experience in regulating federal policy issues.

On July 25, 1998 president Boris Yeltsin decreed Vladimir Putins appointment as director of the Federal Security Service (formerly the KGB).

In March 1999, while still head of the FSB, Putin was appointed Secretary of the State Security Council.

In August 1999 Boris Yeltsin dismissed Sergey Stepashin, his fourth Prime Minister in 16 months, and replaced him with Putin. At the time Yeltsin said that Putin was his chosen successor as the best person to revive the great country and take it into the 21st century.

Upon his resignation on December 31st 1999, Putin became the acting president of Russia.

He was elected president on March 26, 2000 and two months later, in May, he was inaugurated President of the Russian Federation.

28 18:39

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President Putin Will Answer Your Questions

Dear Readers! On March 6, 2001 at 6:00 p.m. Moscow Time the President of Russia Vladimir Putin will answer questions posed by Gazeta.Ru readers. We welcome your questions to the head of the state at interview@gazeta.ru

A Profile of Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin was born in Leningrad (now, St.Petersburg) on October 7, 1952. Putins father, Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin fought in the World War II in the defence of Leningrad in which he received multiple...

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