10 Interesting Facts About Vladimir Putin 

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Vladimir Putin in a suit
Vladimir Putin, February 2021.
Credit: Kremlin.ru // CC BY 4.0

Vladimir Putin is the current President of Russia and previous Prime Minister. He was also the President for two terms ending in 2008. Vladimir experienced great success in his political career from the start and has worked his way to being the longest-serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin. His political history has been well-documented and examined throughout the years, but here are 10 facts about him you may not have known about.   

1. Vladimir Putin Went to Law School

A young Vladimir Putin at school age
Young Vladimir Putin, 1960.
Credit: Kremlin.ru // CC BY 4.0

Vladimir Putin was born in 1952 in Leningrad, Russia; now called St. Petersburg. He and his parents lived in a shared apartment with another family and attended the local Primary and Highschool. Vladimir enrolled at Leningrad State University after Highschool and began studying for a Law degree. After graduating with his Law degree, Vladimir sought out a job in the intelligence industry and decided to serve his country at the same time. 

2. He Was a Member of the KGB

Vladimir Putin wearing the uniform of the KGB.
Vladimir Putin wearing his KGB uniform, circa 1980.
Credit: Kremlin.ru // CC BY 4.0

Immediately after graduating with his Law degree, Vladimir joined the KGB in an administrative position. Vladimir served in the KGB for 15 years and traveled all over Russia, even making it to Germany for a few years. He rose through the ranks of the KGB and eventually reached lieutenant colonel before the country started to have issues. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Vladimir left the KGB and decided to start his political career.

3. Vladimir Putin Began His Political Career Working For His Mentor.

Anatoly Sobchak
Anatoly Sobchak
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

After he retired from the KGB, Vladimir Putin held a position at the Leningrad State University for a short time before starting his career in politics. During his time as both a student and employee, at Leningrad State University Vladimir formed a friendship with mentor Anatoly Sobchak. Sobchak was the first democratically elected mayor of Leningrad; now called St. Petersburg. Vladimir quickly became an official advisor to Sobchak and made a name for himself; setting the stage for his political rise to power.

4. He Quickly Worked His Way Up the Political Ladder

Inauguration of Vladimir Putin
Inauguration of Vladimir Putin at St Andrew Hall in the Grand Kremlin Palace, Moscow, Russia, 7th May 2000.
Credit: Kremlin.ru // CC BY 4.0

By 1994, Vladimir had earned himself the title of Deputy Mayor under Anatoly Sobchak. After Sobchak’s time as Mayor came to an end, Vladimir packed up and moved to Moscow and joined the presidential staff. Putin started as a Deputy Head of Management in 1998, moved to the head of the Federal Security Service, and by 1999 was promoted to Prime Minister. By the end of 1999 current President, Boris Yeltsin, resigned and appointed Vladimir as Acting President; from then on, remaining in a seat of power until this day.  

5. Vladimir Putin Has Consistently Held a Seat of Power

Vladimir Putin sworn in as President.
Putin being sworn in as President of Russia, 7th May 2018.
Credit: Kremlin.ru // CC BY 4.0

Once Vladimir Putin reached his presidential seat, he has remained in that seat of power until this day. Starting as Acting President in 1999, he was elected as the official Present a few months later in 2000. He was then re-elected in 2004 for a second term, but could not campaign for a third term due to constitutional limits. Vladimir maintained his seat of power by having his pupil, Dmitry Medvedev, succeed him and then designate Vladimir as prime minister again. After Medvedev’s term was up, Vladimir was re-elected as President in 2012 and has remained there until this day. 

6. He Offered Help to the US After the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Putin and Bush
Vladimir Putin with President of the United States, George W. Bush, at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia, 24th May 2002.
Credit: Kremlin.ru // CC BY 4.0

During his time as President, Vladimir Putin has had a love-hate relationship with the United States. After the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001, Putin offered Russia’s assistance to the U.S; allowing the U.S to use their airspace, and also joined the U.S in search-and-rescue missions. However, this support shifted to opposition when the U.S changed its focus to eliminating Saddam Hussein; with Russia, Germany, and France not supporting the plan. 

7. Vladimir Putin Protected Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden, 9th October 2013.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Vladimir Putin made the relationship with the U.S more tense after he helped a wanted U.S information leaker evade U.S authorities. In 2013, an IT worker by the name of Edward Snowden leaked classified information about personal customer information collected by the U.S government. After fleeing the U.S, Snowden traveled from country to country seeking asylum until the U.S nullified his passport while he was in Russia. Vladimir granted Snowden asylum and gave him the option to apply for citizenship in the future.

8. Vladimir Putin Has a Nobel Peace Prize Nomination

Putin and Assad
Vladimir Putin and Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, 17th May 2018.
Credit: Kremlin.ru // CC BY 4.0

Another connection that Vladimir Putin and Edward Snowden have is their Nobel Peace Prize Nomination in 2014. Snowden was nominated for his information leak, and Putin was nominated for his peaceful solution to Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Vladimir’s friendship with the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, was the likely reason for his success. Vladimir Putin persuaded Assad to surrender Syria’s weapons peacefully as opposed to the other option of aggressive intervention.

9. He is an Advocate for Animal Rights

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov presented Vladimir Putin with an Alabai puppy named Verny
Vladimir Putin holding an Alabai puppy gifted to him by the President of Turkmenistan, 11th October 2017.
Credit: Kremlin.ru // CC BY 4.0

A softer side of Vladimir Putin shows his love and care for animals. He has a small pack of dogs at his home and makes a strong effort to assist in the research of various animal species such as tigers, polar bears, dolphins, and cranes. He also pushes for laws for better treatment of animals. The Law on Responsible Treatment of Animals prohibits petting zoos inside of malls and restaurants, prohibits the killing of stray animals, and requires proper care for pets.  

10. Vladimir Putin’s Passion for Work Led to Divorce

Vladimir Putin with his wife Lyudmila Putina in Saint Petersburg, Russia, 30th May 2003.
Credit: Kremlin.ru // CC BY 4.0

All of Vladimir Putin’s accomplishments are not without a cost; eventually leading to him and his wife getting a divorce in 2013. Getting married in 1983, Vladimir’s wife, Lyudmila, has been with him since his start in politics. Lyudmila simply stated that they do not see each other frequently and the Vladimir is consumed by his work. In agreeance with her statement, Vladimir stated that she put up with it for almost nine years and could not take it any longer. 

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