Vladimir Putin – for many, he is the face of modern Russia, yet he connects the country to the Cold War as well. Putin has served Russia as both a Prime Minister and as President. He was also an intelligence officer in the KGB for fifteen years. Putin has been noted by the Russian people for his “coolness and decisiveness under pressure.” When Putin initially became the president of Russian, he promised his people to “rebuild a weakened Russia.” In the last decade or so, this appears to be a rebuilding of the Soviet Empire.
|Celebrated Name:||Vladimir Putin|
|Real Name/Full Name:||Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin|
|Birthdate:||October 7, 1952|
|Birthplace:||Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Russia|
|Height:||5 ft. 7 in.|
|Wife/Spouse||Lyudmila Shkrebneva (m. 1983 – 2014)|
|Children/Kids:||Two daughters: Maria and Katerina|
|Is Vladimir Putin Gay?||No|
|Highest Political Office:||President of Russia|
|Profession:||intelligence officer in KGB and director of the FSB, Russian politician|
|Colleges Attended:||Saint Petersburg State University; Saint Petersburg Mining Institute|
|Degrees:||LLB (law degree); PhD (Saint Petersburg Mining Institute|
|Salary:||8.6 million rubles ($110,854)|
|Net Worth in 2022:||between $40 billion and $200 billion|
Biography: Early Life and Family
Vladimir Putin was born into a family that had several connections to Russian leaders as well as the Russian military. He was born in October 1952, just a few years after the end of World War II and at a time when Russia was still under the command of Joseph Stalin.
Putin’s grandfather was employed as a personal cook for both Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. Putin’s own father had served in the Russian navy, particularly in the destruction battalion of the NKVD, or The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs. This was a group that carried out police work for the Kremlin as well as overseeing prison camps of the nation.
Even so, Putin’s family was the epitome of simple beginnings. Putin’s mother worked in a factory. It is unknown what type of work Putin’s father did after he was significantly injured in 1942 while serving in the Russian army.
Putin attended a school near his home in Leningrad, which would later be renamed St. Petersburg after the fall of the Soviet Union. He was a law student at Saint Petersburg State University, and he earned a PhD at the Saint Petersburg Mining Institute. It is unclear exactly what concentration his Doctoral degree is in.
Officially, Putin has been married and divorced once, and he has two daughters by that marriage. He married Lyudmila Shkrebneva, and their two daughters are Maria and Katerina.
Unofficially, Putin is said to have other children with at least two other women. According to a Russian media outlet (Proekt Media), Putin has a daughter with Svetlana Krivonogikh. The daughter’s name is Elizaveta, or Luiza Rozova. This child was born in 2003. Although there is great speculation around the parentage of Elizaveta, Putin has never publicly acknowledged her. Some Russian media has alleged that Elizaveta has hinted at her parentage, but, officially, she has not been confirmed as Putin’s daughter.
In 2008, a Russian media outlet, the Moskovsky Korrespondent, said that Putin and his wife had divorced, and that Putin was engage to an Olympic gold medalist, Alina Kabaeva. The Russian government denied this story, and, shortly after, the newspaper was closed down. Multiple media reports tell that Putin and Kabaeva have a daughter and twin sons together. However, all of this has been formally denied by Putin.
It was not until 2014 that Putin announced his divorce from his wife. At the height of the speculation of an affair between Putin and Kabaeva, Putin and his wife were still making appearances together in public.
Age, Height, and Weight
Vladimir Putin is 69 years of age. He is reportedly 5′ 7″ in height, and he weighs approximately 158 pounds.
While sources vary at the exact amount of wealth Putin owns, Putin is known to wear high-end wristwatches that experts note are at least three to six times his annual salary as the Russian president.
Sources estimate Putin’s net worth at between $40 billion and $200 billion.
Opponents of Putin’s regime say that the Russian president’s wristwatch collection is a sign of corruption within the government. According to a high-end wristwatch blog, Putin owns at least two Patek Phillippe watches valued at between $18,000 and $60,000. He has also been photographed or filmed wearing a Breguet Marine and two different Blancpain Leman watches. He is also said to have a watch made by A Lange & Sohne, a German watchmaker, that is valued at approximately $500,000.
Putin is also said to offer replicas of luxury watches as gifts; he allegedly gave a Blancpain to “a Siberian boy he met while on vacation in August 2009,” and another watch to a factory worker.
It is also reported (not confirmed) that Putin has a $550 million palace near the Black Sea, multiple luxury yachts, and shares in major oil and gas companies.
Career Outside of Politics
Beginning in 1975, Putin joined the KGB, but information regarding his career with this Russian agency is “unclear and controversial.” Putin was definitely in intelligence during his career with the KGB. According to Business Insider, Putin was recruited to do this work by an established KGB agent, and it is likely that Putin’s time in the KGB shaped how he views international relationships and diplomacy between nations. Putin is said to have been trained for his position at the Red Banner Institute in Moscow. However, even though Putin was involved in intelligence as a member of the KGB, his initial years in the agency were spent inside an office.
However, Putin committed himself to his training, and he became a first lieutenant within his first year of service. He trained physically as well as in learning intelligence gathering tactics. Perhaps this training lends to Putin’s ability to remain “cool” at all times.
By 1985, Putin, who speaks German fluently, was able to obtain a job as a translator. He moved to Dresden, where he would live with his wife for many years.
Putin left the KGB in 1991. At the time, there was growing unrest and a coup against then-Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev was taking place.
In 1998, Putin became a member of the FSB, which was the “successor” of the KGB. He was also an official in Boris Yeltsin’s administration.
Interestingly enough, in 1999, Putin is quoted as saying that communism is ‘a blind alley, far away from the mainstream of civilization.”
Career in Politics
In May 1990, Putin was an advisor of international affairs for Anatoly Sobchak, who was the mayor of Leningrad at the time. As previously stated, Putin left the KGB the next year.
Still working in the mayor’s office in 1991, Putin was the chair for the Committee for External Relations (for that office). Putin was accused of corruption during this time. A city council investigated Putin’s activities, and they concluded that Putin had “understated prices” and that he allowed for $93 million of metals to be exported, reportedly in order to get food aid from foreign allies. It is said that this food aid never arrived. Although the investigative committee recommended that Putin be fired, he held his position; he was also employed in various other positions within Mayor Sobchak’s office.
Between 1994 and 1997, Putin’s primary work was withing the Government of Saint Petersburg. He was first appointed as First Deputy Chairman, then he began organizing the Our Home – Russia political party. He managed the election campaign for that party in 1995. He was also the leader of the Saint Petersburg branch of the Our Home – Russia party between 1995 and 1997.
After Sobchak lost his re-election in Saint Petersburg, Putin moved to Moscow and became Deputy Chief of the Presidential Property Management Department. By 1997, Putin had been chosen for deputy chief in Boris Yeltsin’s presidential staff.
During this time, Putin moved through various positions in government. Many of them were deputy chairman or head of commission type of positions. In 1998, Yeltsin appointed Putin the leader of the FSB. Putin’s work under Yeltsin would be rewarded as Yeltsin would appoint Putin as the Prime Minister of “the Government of the Russian Federation.”
At the time Yeltsin appointed Putin, many did not know who the young man was. It is said that he was not expected to last in the position any longer than his predecessors, but Putin would then show his wily intelligence and his strength as a leader.
Because there was a political power play at the time, there were those who attempted to prevent Putin from becoming the next Russian leader. The Second Chechen War would actually propel him to this position, and it won him a great amount of loyalty from the Russian people as he became a “law and order” leader as well as a relentless fighter.
One of the first things Putin did upon becoming president was to absolve Yeltsin of any corruption allegations. (NOTE: Putin himself had been named as one of those investigated for corruption; signing the document that Yeltsin was free of corruption also freed himself.)
Putin was inaugurated the president of Russia on May 7, 2000.
Between 2000 and 2004, Putin’s chief priority was winning over the assistance of Russian ogliarchs. Putin had a second presidential term between 2004 and 2008. During a speech in 2005, Putin said that “the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century.” Today, many believe that Putin is working to rebuild the Soviet Union of his youth. Putin has already annexed Crimea, and in 2014, he made “several military incursions” into the Ukraine. At present, tensions in Eastern Europe are boiling over anticipation that Putin may once again invade the Ukraine and install a pro-Russia leader.
Today, Russia’s government is considered “authoritarian.” Putin remains a controversial figure on the world stage. He deployed forces into Syria during the Syrian civil war. He is rumored to have interfered in the 2016 election. Rumors of human rights violations under his leadership have many international leaders viewing Putin as one who is working to reunite the Soviet Union as it once was and to establish a communist government much like that of the Cold War era. At the very least, Putin is said to want to see Russia as the world power that it was just four decades ago.