Following the likes of former United States President Barack Obama and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian President Vladimir Putin is another example of a leader who practically came from nothing to become one of the most powerful people in the world. The former KGB agent went from being a Russian intelligence officer to entering politics, rising from small city political positions to getting appointed as a Prime Minister and then being elected as the President of the world’s largest nation.
Vladimir Putin – Biography (Age)
On the 7th of October, 1952, in Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union, Vladimir Putin was welcomed into the world as the youngest of three children to his parents; Maria Ivanovna Putina (née Shelomova) and Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin. His father was a cook for Russian revolutionary and politician Lenin before he was conscripted in the Soviet Navy in World War II while his mother was a factory worker.
According to his educational records, Putin first attended School No. 193 at Baskov Lane before enrolling at Saint Petersburg High School 281. After high school, he moved to study Law at the Leningrad State University, graduating in 1975 and immediately joining the ranks of the Soviet Security Services (KGB).
Vladimir Putin trained at the 401st KGB school in Okhta, Leningrad before joining the counter-intelligence office at the Second Chief Directorate. He was soon after transferred to the First Chief Directorate, where his tasks included monitoring foreigners and consular officials in Leningrad. By 1985, after having received additional training, Putin was sent abroad to Dresden, East Germany as a covert operator under the identity of a translator. He remained there until the collapse of the Communist East German government, prompting him to return to Leningrad in 1990.
Following his return to Russia, Vladimir Putin first worked with the International Affairs section of Leningrad State University before he was appointed as an advisor on international affairs to the Mayor of Leningrad, Anatoly Sobchak, his former professor. He held several other political and governmental positions in Leningrad/Saint Petersburg before moving to Moscow in 1996, where he was appointed as the Deputy Chief of the Presidential Property Management Department. In 1997, President Boris Yeltsin appointed him as the chief of the Main Control Directorate of the Presidential Property Management Department and deputy chief of Presidential Staff; positions he held until mid-1998 when he was appointed as First Deputy Chief of Presidential Staff for regions and Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB).
In 1999, Vladimir Putin was appointed acting Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation by President Yeltsin. A few months after his appointment, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned, making Putin Acting President of the Russian Federation. He later won the following elections, holding the office for two terms, from May 2000 to May 2008, before giving way for Dmitry Medvedev who subsequently appointed him as Prime Minister. In 2012, Putin made a comeback to again get elected as president, a position he will hold until 2024 thanks to changes to presidential terms in the Russian constitution.
Wife and Daughters
- Vladimir Putin and ex-wife Lyudmila (Image Source)
Vladimir Putin was previously married to Lyudmila Aleksandrovna Putina. The former flight attendant met her husband in the early 1980s in Leningrad while she was a student at Leningrad State University. The pair exchanged marital vows on the 28th of July 1983 and went on to welcome two daughters; Mariya, who was born on the 28th of April, 1985 in Leningrad, and Yekaterina (Katja), who was born on the 31st of August, 1986 in Dresden, East Germany.
Vladimir and Lyudmila remained together until June 2013 when they both publicly announced on television that they were getting a divorce. The announcement did not come as a surprise to the public as there had been years of speculation on the health of their union. In April 2014, the couple’s divorce proceedings were finalized.
How Tall is Vladimir Putin?
Vladimir Putin is known to portray an outdoor, sporty, tough, and no-nonsense guy persona. This can be seen through the number of photos that are usually released to the public of him taking part in extreme sports events or performing dangerous acts. However, regardless of the power he might command, the Russian leader is far from being an intimidating man in person as he stands at a height of 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm), a figure which Kremlin insiders further say to be overstated, as they claim he is a few inches shorter than that figure.
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Does He Speak English?
In addition to his native Russian tongue and German, English is also one of the languages in which Vladimir Putin is fluent in. He learned how to speak German fluently in high school and used it very well during his time with the KGB as he was stationed in the city of Dresden in East Germany in the 1980s.
It is not clear what point in time Putin learned how to speak English, however, he also knows how to speak the language fluently. According to reports, the Russian President chooses to use English when discussing freely on the sidelines with other heads of states at summits, however, at official meetings and during negotiations, he usually speaks Russian, thereby using a translator to communicate. The report further adds that he is known to correct translators when his message is not accurately put across.
Vladimir Putin’s Favourite Books
The Russian President, despite his no-nonsense guy persona, is also an avid reader and has equally inspired several books. Putin, during an interview session with a media outfit, pointed out some of his best novelists to include Jack London, Jules Verne, and Ernest Hemingway. He further opined that Hemingway’s books including A Farewell to Arms, The Old Man and the Sea, and For Whom the Bell Tolls, have helped shape his inner self and his love for outdoor literature. In addition, he also recommended books like A Sportsman’s Sketches by Ivan Turgenev and the short stories of the nature writer, Mikhail Prishvin.