Vladimir Putin
Влади́мир Пу́тин

Vladimir Putin official portrait
Prime Minister of Russia
In office:
May 8, 2008 – July 12, 2011
President: Dmitry Medvedev
Deputy: Viktor Zubkov
Igor Shuvalov
Preceded by: Viktor Zubkov
In office:
August 9, 1999 – May 7, 2000
President: Boris Yeltsin
Preceded by: Sergei Stepashin
Succeeded by: Mikhail Kasyanov
Prime Minister of Russia
In office:
May 7, 2000 – May 7, 2008
Acting: December 31, 1999 – May 7, 2000
Prime Minister: Mikhail Kasyanov
Viktor Khristenko (Acting)
Mikhail Fradkov
Viktor Zubkov
Preceded by: Boris Yeltsin
Succeeded by: Dmitry Medvedev
Born: 7 October 1952 (age 56)
Flag of the Soviet Union Leningrad, Soviet Union
(now Russia)
Political party: United Russia (2008–present)
Other political
Communist Party of the
Soviet Union (before 1991)

Independent (1991–2008)

Spouse: Lyudmila Putina
Children: Mariya
Alma mater: Leningrad State University
Religion: Russian Orthodox
Signature: 95px

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Russian: Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин); born October 7, 1952 in Leningrad, USSR; now Saint Petersburg, Russia) was the second President of Russia and is the current Prime Minister of Russia as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when president Boris Yeltsin resigned in a surprising move, and then Putin won the 2000 presidential election. In 2004, he was re-elected for a second term lasting until 7 May 2008.

Due to constitutionally mandated term limits, Putin was ineligible to run for a third consecutive Presidential term. After the victory of his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, in the 2008 presidential elections, he was then nominated by the latter to be Russia's Prime Minister; Putin took the post on 8 May 2008. On

Throughout his presidential terms and into his second term as Prime Minister, Putin has enjoyed high approval ratings amongst the Russian public. He is credited with bringing political stability and re-establishing the rule of law. During his eight years in office, on the back of Yeltsin-era structural reforms, steadily rising oil price and cheap credit from western banks, Russia's economy bounced back from crisis, seeing GDP increase sixfold (72% in PPP), poverty cut more than half and average monthly salaries increase from $80 to $640, or by 150% in real rates. Analysts have described Putin's economic reforms as impressive. During his presidency, Putin passed into law a series of fundamental reforms, including a flat income tax of 13 percent, a reduced profits tax, and new land and legal codes. Putin's prudent economic policies have received praise from Western economists. At the same time, his conduct in office has been questioned by domestic political opposition, foreign governments and human rights organizations for leading the Second Chechen War, for his record on internal human rights and freedoms, and for his alleged bullying of the former Soviet Republics. A new group of business magnates controlling significant swathes of Russia's economy - such as Gennady Timchenko, Vladimir Yakunin, Yuriy Kovalchuk, Sergey Chemezov, all with close personal ties to Putin - emerged according to media reports.

Due to the economic recession in 2008-2010, Putin tried pressuring Norway to cede its oil reserves in the disputed maritime "Grey Zone" in the Barents Sea in 2010. When Norway refused to do so, Putin ordered an invasion of Northern Norway in order to secure these oil and gas reserves by force, triggering the Russo-Norwegian. While the offensive was initially successful, the Russian invasion was halted by a joint NATO force, and after the Russian invasion force was forced to retreat by a counterattack by NATO forces, Putin faced increased criticism at home, and accepted a preliminary ceasefire agreement with Norway on December 20, signing it on December 23 in Moscow. With the war resulting in a military as well as an economic disaster, he was forced to resign from office on July 12, 2011.

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