Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Владимир Владимирович Путин) was an intelligence officer before becoming the president of Russia. He was born in Leningrad, Russia years after the deaths of his two brothers Viktor Vladimirovich Putin and Albert Vladimirovich Putin.
Albert died in infancy while Viktor died of diphtheria during the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi Germany’s forces in World War II. During the war, their maternal uncles disappeared on the Eastern Front.
In 1975, Vladimir graduated from Leningrad State University in Leningrad with a law degree and in 1980, he met Lyudmila Aleksandrovna in Leningrad. In 1992, the city and the university were renamed Saint Petersburg and St. Petersburg University, respectively.
Vladimir’s undergraduate thesis was titled “The Most Favored Nation Trading Principle in International Law.” He became a protégé of liberal scholar Anatoly Sobchak.
Vladimir and Aleksandrovna have two daughters. Here are 13 more things about him:
- In 1941, the German occupiers of Tver, Russia killed his maternal grandmother. His mother Maria Ivanovna Putina, who was a factory worker, died in 1998.
- His paternal grandfather Spiridon Putin was a personal cook to Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. His father Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin served in the submarine fleet as a conscript in the Soviet Navy in the early 1930, was severely wounded in 1942 and died in 1999.
- As a young boy, he regularly received 3s (Cs) in algebra, chemistry, geometry and physics. His school grades quickly improved when he was in sixth grade in 1965. That year, he started playing the guitar, singing songs by Vladimir Vysotsky, a Russian bard whose lyrics were antiestablishment but not antiwar, and participating in martial arts training.
- In 1968, aged 16, he went to a Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB) branch where a senior agent advised him to join the military or study law and to not contact the agency again. That was when he decided to study law. His parents and coaches wanted him to become an engineer but in 1970, he enrolled in the International Division of the Department of Law at Leningrad State University. After graduating from the university in 1975, he started working as a KGB intelligence officer. He went on to rise to the rank of lieutenant colonel.
- He earned a black belt in karate after attaining the rank of master of sambo in 1973 and master of judo in 1975. In 1976, he became Leningrad’s judo champion. He once lost on points to Vladimir Kullenin.
- On July 28, 1983, he and Aleksandrovna got married. She gave birth to their daughters Maria Vorontsova in St. Petersburg on April 28, 1985 and Katerina Tikhonova in Dresden, Saxony, Germany on August 31, 1986.
- In 1991, he resigned from KGB to start a political career in St. Petersburg. In 1996, he moved to Moscow, Russia and joined the administration of Boris Yeltsin, who became the first president of Russia on July 10, 1991.
- From July 25, 1998 to March 29, 1999, he served as the director of Russia’s Federal Security Service. From March 9, 1999 to August 9, 1999, he was the secretary of the country’s Security Council. From August 9, 1999 to May 7, 2000, he was the prime minister of Russia.
- On December 31, 1999, he became the acting president of Russia following Yeltsin’s resignation, making him the second person to hold the position. On March 26, 2000, he was elected as the president of Russia, beating Gennady Zyuganov and Grigory Yavlinsky.
- On March 14, 2004, he was reelected as the president of Russia, beating Nikolay Kharitonov. On May 8, 2008, he became the prime minister of Russia again.
- After beating Zyuganov in the election on March 4, 2012, he assumed office as the president of Russia again on May 7, 2012. On June 6, 2013, he and Aleksandrovna publicly announced the termination of their marriage based on a mutual decision at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow. In November 2013, World Taekwondo conferred him an honorary 9th dan black belt in taekwondo. He stayed single while Aleksandrovna married Artur Sergeevich Ocheretny in 2015.
- On March 18, 2018, he was reelected as the president of Russia, beating Pavel Grudinin and Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
- On February 24, 2022, he ordered Russia to invade Ukraine. Days later, World Taekwondo stripped him of his black belt in taekwondo.