Russian President Vladimir Putin is considered the creator of a reborn Russia and the restorer of its strength and role in the international arena. So how did he get into the Soviet Intelligence Service (KGB), then into political positions until becoming president?
Followers of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s political biography agree that he was able to combine politics and ethics on the one hand, and diplomacy and firmness on the other.
In addition, the main characteristic of his personality is his determination to establish order and put things on the right track. In this sense, Putin embodies stabilizing the state and restoring its prestige.
During his reign, Russia returned to the international arena with force. With it, the global balance returned to normal, after 3 decades of American dominance of the world. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia’s enemies expected it not to rise.
Who is Putin? And how did he manage to advance a reformed Russia?
It is very difficult to shorten President Putin’s march to restore Russia’s strength and prestige, internally and externally, over more than two decades. The march included fighting corruption, confronting foreign interference in Russia, and issuing related laws, such as the law banning participation in foreign and international non-governmental organizations in Russia, and the law ” Dima Yakovlev”, which prohibits the adoption of Russian children by US citizens.
He sometimes refrains from passing specific laws, as he did regarding legalizing same-sex marriage.
Putin showed exceptional ability in confronting the West’s attempts to destroy Russia from within. Many societies around the world were toppled because he rejected the West’s cracking record of “freedom”, “democracy,” and “human rights.”
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, “Russia should have sought its path of transformation instead of adopting schemes from Western textbooks,” Putin said in 1999.
Thus, Putin found Russia’s path and regained its prestige and power in the domestic and foreign arenas.
Who is Vladimir Putin?
He is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. In Russian, Vladimir Vladimir Vladimirovich Podtin. And in English, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
He was born on the 7th of October 1952 in the Soviet Union Leningrad, which since September 1991 has become Saint Petersburg.
His father was Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin (1911-1999), a veteran of the Red Army who participated in World War II (Great Patriotic War) and the battle for the defense of Leningrad.
His father was a conscript in the Soviet Navy who served in the submarine fleet in the early 1930s.
Putin’s father served in the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs destruction battalion. Later, he was transferred to the regular army and was severely wounded in 1942. He had been a member of the Communist Party since 1941.
Putin’s mother, Maria Ivanovna Putina, worked in a Leningrad factory and then as a nurse in a hospital. His mother miraculously survived the Soviet blockade.
The Story of Putin’s Mother’s Survival
In one interview, Putin told the story of his mother’s evacuation from Leningrad. The story is that during World War II his father got leave to visit his family.
When his father approached the street where he lived, he saw a military truck carrying dozens of corpses to take them to a mass grave. Therefore, he realized that the street where he lived was bombed.
His father stood in front of the corpses to look at them, and he noticed his wife’s body among them. After grieving the death of his wife, the man asked for her body to be buried in his family cemetery.
He was shocked after receiving the body because it was still breathing, albeit very slowly. He rushed her to the hospital, where she was treated and her normal life was restored. She gave birth years after this incident, and the born child was Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin’s grandfather, Spiridon Putin, was the personal cook of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin.
His grandmother & uncles
Putin’s maternal grandmother was killed by the Nazi occupiers of the Tver region in 1941, and his uncles disappeared on the Eastern Front during World War II.
Putin was the third and youngest son in his family. His two older brothers died in infancy and before his birth, Albert, who died before the start of World War II, and Victor (1940-1942) who died from diphtheria during Nazi Germany’s siege of Leningrad and was buried in Piskarevsky Cemetery.
On July 28, 1983, 30-year-old Putin married 25-year-old Lyudmila Alexandrovna Shkrabneva. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Languages at Leningrad State University.
On June 6, 2013, the duo, Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin announced that they had agreed to divorce by joint decision. The divorce became official in March 2014.
Lyudmila gave birth to Vladimir Putin’s two daughters, Maria and Katerina.
Putin is very conservative about his personal life. He protects his two daughters from the repercussions of his public life and keeps their privacy closely guarded.
In one of the press conferences (2012), Putin answered whether he had grandchildren by saying that “the country does not need to know that.”
But Putin was less reserved in his conversation with Oliver Stone in June of 2017 when he talked about his two daughters and said he had two grandchildren.
Recently, some information about them began to leak out, saying that his two daughters were registered at the university under assumed names.
Maria Putin was born on April 28, 1985, in Leningrad.
In 2003 she enrolled at St. Petersburg State University, where she studied biology and soils. In 2015, she graduated from the Faculty of Fundamental Medicine at Moscow State University.
She specializes in the field of endocrinology. According to the New Times, she was registered as Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova.
According to information published in Western and Russian media, Maria is married to a Dutch businessman. He is the former top manager of Gazprombank and the Russian consulting group MEF Audit, Gorrit Jost Vasin.
Some media outlets said that Maria Putin lived for some time in the Dutch city of Voorschoten. However, Putin confirmed in 2015 that neither of his two daughters had ever lived abroad.
Katrina Putin was born on August 31, 1986, in Dresden, Germany. She is a gymnast and is described by the press as accomplished. In February 2013, she married Russian billionaire Kirill Shamalov, and they divorced in January 2018.
As Reuters and Bloomberg reported, Katrina enrolled at Oriental College under the nickname Tikhonova (her maternal grandmother’s nickname), according to sources close to the university.
As for Putin, in response to a journalist’s question about whether Tikhonova was his daughter, he did not confirm or deny this information.
Putin’s educational attainment
On September 1, 1960, Putin began studying at School No. 193 on Baskov Lane, near his home.
“At first he was a fidgety student who did not study well and used to get involved in fights between students, but his wit was sharp and he had a very sharp memory,” says the educator of Putin’s class (grades 5-8) Vera Gurvich (video).
Later, according to Gurevich, Putin became a diligent student and showed an ability to learn foreign languages, studying German at Saint Petersburg High School 281.
She says that she is very proud that the president’s love for the German language began with her educational circle (…) and from the very first lessons, Putin showed amazing abilities in learning the language.
In his spare time, he enjoyed reading articles by Marx, Engels, and Lenin.
At the age of 11, he entered the wrestling section. At the age of 12, he started practicing sambo and judo. For sports to become an essential part of the life of the future president.
In 1970, Putin enrolled in the Faculty of Law, Department of International Relations, at Andrei Gdanov University in Leningrad State (now St. Petersburg State University), and graduated in 1975.
He was also affiliated with the Soviet Communist Party during that period and remained in it until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
During his studies, he first met Anatoly Sobchak, who at that time was an assistant professor teaching business law at Leningrad State University.
And then Putin will become influential in Sobchak’s career in St. Petersburg.
Putin in the KGB
When he was still a schoolboy, Putin hung a picture of Jan Berzin, one of the founders of the KGB, in his room.
After becoming president of the country, Putin said in one of the interviews that since childhood he was fond of Soviet films about intelligence officers. He dreamed of working in state security agencies. And Putin managed to fully achieve the goals that he set for himself.
In 1984, he studied for one year at the KGB’s Red Banner Institute, and in 1985 he graduated from the Department of Foreign Intelligence.
At the Red Banner Institute, Putin bore the surname Platov. Due to the secrecy of the work, associates were not supposed to know each other’s real names, and pseudonyms were chosen by the relevant authorities.
According to his file kept in the Central Archive of Historical and Political Documents in Saint Petersburg, Putin has demonstrated in the course of his work that he is a “hardworking, disciplined and conscientious employee”.
After graduating from Leningrad University, he was sent to work in the USSR State Security Committee: he worked in the Secretariat, then in the counterintelligence unit of the KGB Directorate for the Leningrad Region.
After studying in Moscow, he was transferred to the foreign intelligence branch of the KGB in the Leningrad Region.
Putin in East Germany
In 1985 Putin was sent to the KGB headquarters in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), and he worked in the city of “Dresden” until 1990. He held the position of first commissar and first assistant to the head of the department.
In 1989 he was awarded the Bronze Medal “For Merit” of the People’s National Army of the German Democratic Republic.
Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, on December 5, 1989, a crowd of German demonstrators attempted to storm the Soviet residence to seize the KGB archives. However, Putin managed to persuade the crowd to disperse, without using force. A large number of covert operations documents were burned at the residence.
Putin’s Return to the USSR
In January 1990, Putin ended his business trip to the German Democratic Republic and returned to Leningrad.
Return to Leningrad
After returning to the Soviet Union, according to Putin, he refused a transfer to the KGB in Moscow and joined the USSR’s domestic intelligence service, the Leningrad branch.
Since February 1990, he has worked as an assistant to the rector of Leningrad State University for International Affairs, and then as an advisor to the chairman of the Leningrad City Council Anatoly Sobchak (mayor of St. Petersburg in 1991-1996).
In June 1991, Vladimir Putin was appointed Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Leningrad Mayor’s Office (St. Petersburg).
Why did Putin resign from the state security services?
Between 19-21 August 1991, an attempted coup d’état occurred in the USSR, organized by the State Emergency Committee (GKChP), which included part of the Soviet Supreme Command.
Vladimir Putin, along with other leaders of the mayor’s office, spoke out against the actions of the state emergency committee. On August 20, 1991, he submitted his resignation from the state security services.
In 1992, he assumed the position of Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg and retained the position of Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations.
Since March 1994, when Anatoly Sobchak became the head of the city government, Vladimir Putin has been appointed as his first deputy. After consolidating the positions of head of city government and mayor, he assumed the position of deputy mayor and chairman of the city’s foreign relations committee.
In 1994 Putin was one of the organizers of the Russian-American Goodwill Games. He met American media businessman Ted Turner, and since that time, US intelligence agencies have begun collecting information about Putin.
Putin is in public service in Moscow
After Sobchak’s defeat in the St. Petersburg mayoral elections in June 1996, Vladimir Putin left office. In August of the same year, he moved to work in the Department of the President of the Russian Federation as Deputy Head of Department Pavel Borodin. Oversaw the legal department and matters relating to foreign property. And he moved with his family to Moscow.
From 1996 to 1998 he was the First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration (in 1996-1997 headed by Anatoly Chubais, in 1997-1998 headed by Valentin Yumashev).
From July 1998 to August 1999, at Yumashev’s suggestion, Putin was appointed Director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), the successor to the KGB.
Before his appointment, President Boris Yeltsin offered Putin a promotion in the military rank to major general. However, Putin declined, preferring to become the first civilian director of the FSB. Putin appointed generals Nikolai Patrushev, Viktor Cherkesov, and Sergei Ivanov as his deputies, with whom he worked in the KGB in St. Petersburg.
In the fall of 1998, he reorganized the FSB of Russia. At Putin’s direction, a memorial plaque was restored in the FSB building in memory of former KGB chief Yuri Andropov.
On March 26, 1999, Putin became Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, retaining the position of Director of the FSB.
Putin … the president of Russia
Vladimir Putin became acting President of Russia on December 31, 1999, due to the early resignation of Boris Yeltsin.
On March 26, 2000, Putin was elected president of the country, with 52.94% of the vote. He took office on May 7.
After he was elected president, in December 2000, an urgent law was introduced to the State Duma, re-adopting the Soviet national anthem, in place of Mikhail Glinka’s national song.
The updated version of Nasheed (video) was performed for the first time on December 30, 2000.
Putin served as president for two consecutive terms: after 4 years, on March 14, 2004, he was elected for a second term, with 71.31% of the vote. He took office on May 7.
Putin faces terrorism & corruption
Vladimir Putin considers the most difficult moments during the years of his presidency to be the terrorist attacks that took place in the first and second terms of his presidency, at the Theater Center in Dubrovka in Moscow in October of 2002 and at the Beslan School in September of 2004.
With the outbreak of the second Chechen war, and after the end of active hostilities in 2000, militants began to resort to terrorist activities. In this regard, reform of the political system in the Russian Federation began.
In 2000, Vladimir Putin created the Institution of Commissars of Federal Districts. Later, he brought provincial laws into line with federal statutes and abolished the election of provincial chiefs. This was done to strengthen the fight against terrorism and increase the efficiency of the authorities.
Another test that Putin passed through as president came in August 2000, when ships of the Northern Fleet began training exercises in the Barents Sea. These exercises included the Kursk nuclear submarine.
After some time, the crew did not contact, and after a few days, the government announced that the boat had sunk.
However, one of Russia’s many achievements during the years of Putin’s presidency, according to foreign sources, is the modernization of the Russian armed forces.
In 2020, the American magazine on international politics, The National Interest, ranked the Russian Marine Corps second in the world after the United States.
In 2012, it was the third time that Vladimir Putin was elected president for a 6-year term, with 63.6% of the vote. After Dmitry Medvedev ruled for 4 years.
The term of office of the Head of State has been increased since 2012, according to the amendment of the Constitution of the Russian Federation on December 30, 2008, to 6 years.
On May 7, 2018, Putin became President of Russia for the fourth time, with 76.69% of the vote.
During these two presidential terms, President Putin passed many tests, especially in Russia’s foreign policy.
Putin & Ukraine
Strategic analysts consider that after what was known as the “Ukrainian revolution” in 2014, and the election of Volodymyr Zelensky as president, “the Ukrainian regime turned into explicit terrorism against the opposition, including the killing of opposition politicians and journalists with the help of neo-Nazis, who were integrated into the structures of the apparatus.” security and the Ministry of the Interior.
Ukraine has become subject to the American plan to eliminate Russia and fragment it to launch a battle against China later. To achieve this goal, the United States is using the gloves of Ukraine, Poland, and possibly other allies to wage war on Russia’s borders.
The American escalation against Russia has not stopped over the past 8 years. 3 conflicts over Russia were sparked simultaneously and suddenly in 2021 in Armenia, Belarus, and the Donbas. This was because the Americans thought that Moscow could easily be lured into any or all of them.
To price Ukraine’s position against Russia, the International Monetary Fund quickly allocated $700 million to Ukraine, despite Kyiv’s failure to meet the fund’s conditions, including fighting corruption.
This was accompanied by Western propaganda and media broadcasting reports of an imminent Russian attack on Ukraine to hold Russia responsible for the outbreak of any war, even if Ukraine started it by attacking the Donbas region.”
At that time, Russia was not interested in war. Moscow also sent clear signals at the time that any attack by Ukraine on the Donbas region would certainly mean the elimination of Ukraine as a state.
Especially since the withdrawal of the United States of America from Afghanistan did not add much to Kyiv’s confidence in the possibility that the United States would enter the war with Russia for its sake.
History of the Russian Crisis with Ukraine
The Russian crisis with Ukraine is not recent, but rather historical, and its roots trace back to the era of the Bolshevik Revolution. It deepened after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the unification of the two nations.
In the negotiations for the unification of Germany (East and West) between the Soviet Union (Mikhail Gorbachev) and the West, the Americans (Ronald Reagan) formally pledged not to expand eastwards towards the republics of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.
But the West reneged on the agreement, and NATO increased to 14 countries, including 3 of the republics of the Soviet Union (after its dissolution), namely Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, in addition to all members of the Warsaw Pact, except for Russia, of course.
Note that after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, there is no longer any justification for the existence of NATO. This is because NATO was established to confront the Warsaw Pact. What the Russians (Putin) considered was a deliberate intention of the West to encircle and fragment Russia.
The West did not stop trying to surround Russia from its soft side, which is Ukraine. The coup against the Ukrainian president took place in 2014, and the subsequent election of Volodymyr Zelensky, who is loyal to Washington.
Putin believes that the power crisis in Ukraine in the years 2013-2014, which ended with the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych, the return of Crimea to Russia, and the civil war in the east of the country, “all stemmed from the project of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.”
Putin believes that “the decision to sign the partnership agreement with the European Union, which Yanukovych took in 2013, was an unfair decision for Russia, as one of its consequences was that the Russian markets, which do not follow the tariff policy with Ukraine, would have been opened to European Union goods, which threatens Russian companies.
After the decision taken by Yanukovych, in consultation with Putin, to postpone the signing of the Association Agreement, popular unrest began in Kyiv with the support of the West.
According to Putin, “What happened in Ukraine in 2014 was a violent coup involving right-wing extremists, and the mistakes made by the new Ukrainian government, including its attempts to put pressure on the Russian-speaking population in the eastern regions, led to damage to the country and its entry into a state of chaos.”
So, the common ambition of Ukraine and the West to include it in NATO and the European Union is not only a threat to Russian national security but also an existential threat to Russia. This is in addition to Zelensky’s declaration of his intention to restore Ukraine’s possession of nuclear weapons.
Ukraine is historically part of the Russian Empire, where it was founded.
Even Kyiv was the capital of the Russian Empire and was called “Kievan Rus”.
In this regard, Putin said in one of his press interviews, “Modern Ukraine was created by Russia, and let’s be precise, it was created by the Bolsheviks, that is, Communist Russia”.
What was the goal of the Bolsheviks?
Putin himself asked why Lenin did this, to which he replied, “There is an explanation. After the revolution, the main goal of the Bolsheviks was to stay in power at any cost, and they did everything to serve that purpose,” including satisfying “any demands of the nationalists inside the country.”
As a result, “Soviet Ukraine was a product of Bolshevik politics or the Ukraine of Lenin, who was the founder and the architect.”
And while Joseph Stalin removed any independence gained by Ukraine or any of the republics of the Soviet Union, all of which were founded on ethnic grounds, he left in place the federal structure, the “federal republics” that became independent when the Soviet Union dissolved.
Putin decides on a military operation in Ukraine
Regarding the existential and strategic threats to Russia’s security, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at dawn on February 24, 2022, in a televised statement, “I have taken a decision for a special military operation” in Ukraine, but “it is not among our plans to occupy Ukrainian lands.” “Russian forces are defending the country and fighting neo-Nazis.”
Promising to “take to court those who have committed many crimes and those responsible for the shedding of civilian blood, including Russian citizens.”
Military analysts described the lightning operation of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine as “clean”. There was also a magic formula followed by Russia, which is automatic control systems.
The pro-Western Ukrainian military and security infrastructure were targeted from the first hour, without residential buildings and civilian facilities being bombed.
The Russians successively took control of vital installations, such as nuclear sites or military bases, with precise operations. This was without having to clash often with Ukrainian soldiers, who preferred to surrender without resistance.
Putin & Syria
Syria is considered one of the most challenging exams and critical stations in Putin’s presidential life, whose strategic importance parallels Ukraine.
Putin summarizes the reason for his decision to intervene militarily to protect the Syrian state in September 2015, at the request of the Syrian government, in “Putin’s Dialogues” with Oliver Stone, that “my main goal was to prevent the recurrence of the Iraqi and Libyan scenarios in Syria, as the two countries were subjected to chaos after the overthrow of their leaders.
In addition, “we also have some practical goals” related to Russian national security, as “thousands of militants from the territory of the former Soviet Union and Russia are fighting there for the benefit of ISIS and other terrorist groups, and they may all return to us, and we cannot allow.” And all this prompted us to take well-known steps.
In December 2017, the Russian Federation announced the defeat of ISIS in Syria.
Putin … The most influential and popular
Vladimir Putin has been the most popular Russian politician since 1999. More than half of Russians polled by the Public Opinion Foundation believe that “during his time in power, Putin has fully achieved the goals he set for himself.”
In 2007, Time magazine chose him as “Person of the Year”.
In 2008, Vanity Fair named him the most influential person in the world.
American Forbes magazine named him the most influential person in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Putin & communists thought
On his view now of communism, the Russian president said in “Putin’s Dialogues” with Oliver Stone that “the ideas of communism are admirable, I believe in them, and I worked with all my might to translate them into reality.
But the reality was direr, as the political system that existed under communism reached a dead end and the economy became incapable of progress.
In one of his interviews, he said, “Whoever does not yearn for the Soviet Union is without a heart, and whoever wants to restore the Soviet Union is without a mind.”
Putin denied that he was influenced by the ideas of Mikhail Gorbachev, the father of “perestroika” and “glasnost”, and believes that the last president of the Soviet Union (Gorbashov) succumbed to the reality that prevailed at the time.
In one of the interviews (February 2008), Putin was asked about his financial situation and the amount of his wealth, and he replied that he is “the richest man not only in Europe but in the world.” But his wealth is intangible. He is rich “because I gather the love of the people,” and also because “the people of Russia have entrusted me with the leadership of such a magnificent country.”
Putin described the allegations of his multi-billion dollar fortune as “mere gossip with nothing worth discussing”.
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