News#WhoIsVladimir Putin: 70 years of the Russian president in...

#WhoIsVladimir Putin: 70 years of the Russian president in 7 key facts

Vladimir Putin turns 70 in one of the worst moments of his long term as head of Russia.

The powerful Russian president is grappling with the most serious internal crisis of his 23-year rule: an increasingly public dispute within the Russian elite over who is to blame for the defeats in Ukraine.

Since Boris Yeltsin handed over the Kremlin leadership to him on the last day of 1999, Putin has built around himself a fiercely loyal new elite of former spies, businessmen and technocrats who have agreed to settle all disputes in private.

However, the former superpower’s humiliating defeats at the hands of a much smaller Ukraine have weakened Putin’s authority and heightened a sense of crisis in Moscow, one not felt since the chaos of the 1990s and which he had promised to extinguish.

“Putin’s authority is being eroded by military failures in Ukraine, and there is a very real sense that a defeat in Ukraine would fatally undermine his authority,” said Sergey Radchenko, a Cold War historian at the School of Advanced International Studies. JohnsHopkins.

“Putin’s Russia has never been in a state of acute crisis, but now there is a sense of acute crisis because every day, as Russia’s position worsens on the battlefield, Putin’s position deteriorates.”

A lawyer and politician by profession, Putin is the president of the Russian Federation who has been in office the longest since the fall of the USSR, since he has been in power since 2000. In addition, in May 2018 he was re-elected for a fourth term of six more years.

His humble origins

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, was born on October 7, 1952 in Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg.

The son of a former Soviet Navy officer and a factory worker, Putin entered the Leningrad State University Law School in 1970, graduating with honors with a thesis on US policy in Africa.

He was part of the KGB

At the end of his career in 1975, (KGB), the secret police and intelligence agency of the Soviet Union, where he served until resigning in 1991.

During his stay at the KGB, Putin was posted to Dresden, in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), although he returned to the USSR after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. There he was assigned to the Leningrad State University as an adviser to foreign affairs of the rector, Stanislav Merkuriev, who was the one who put him in contact with who would become his political mentor: Anatoli Sobchak.

He has ruled Russia for more than two decades

On December 31, 1999, the then president of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, unexpectedly resigned from his mandate and Putin became interim president of the Russian Federation, being the president-elect in May 2000, a position he currently holds.

After his first term as president (2000-2004), Putin made clear his intentions to create a stronger power than before.

It established that all federal subjects of Russia came under the jurisdiction of seven federal districts that were designated by the president. In addition, it unified the laws of the entire country, with the republics of the Russian Federation being forced to modify or suppress local laws that were not in line with the federal ones.

In the same tenor, Putin limited the power and influence of the oligarchs, starting with those who controlled Russian television, thus building “the vertical of power”, a process that is reminiscent of democratic centralism and was criticized for assuming a setback in the democratic achievements of Russia after the dissolution of the USSR.

Months after being re-elected for his second term (2004-2008), the Russian president had to deal with the Beslan school hostage crisis, where an Islamic armed group invaded and held more than 1,100 hostages. This event resulted in 380 deaths and Putin was roundly criticized for the actions of the Russian authorities.

Eliminated direct election of governors

On , the president promulgated the law that eliminated the election by universal suffrage of the heads of the 89 entities that make up the Russian Federation, reported the Kremlin press service, according to a report in the newspaper El País.

From then on, it would be the head of state himself, Putin, who would appoint the leaders of the republics, regions, counties and cities with federal rank, which until now had been directly elected by the population of their territories.

In 2005, Putin and his government launched the National Priority Projects, which aimed to improve and promote the country’s situation in the areas of health, education, housing and agriculture, distinguishing the salary increase of health professionals, education . And the renovation of hospital equipment during 2006 and 2007.

In 2008, Vladimir Putin was elected Prime Minister until 2012.

During this period, Dmitry Medvedev was elected president. Immediately, everyone interpreted the Medvedev-Putin duo as a method for the latter to return to the Kremlin in the following elections without having to reform the constitution to be re-elected president instead of Medvedev.

Russia fell into the world economic crisis. Thanks to the stabilization fund created with the profits from the sale of gas and oil, it was possible that it did not hit the population hard. Although it did experience the effects of the crisis, Russia’s recovery was faster than that of other countries.

During this period, demonstrations, known as the Opposition Marches, continued. This non-parliamentary opposition movement was strongest in big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg and had leaders like former world chess champion Gary Kasparov.

In 2012, Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency of the Kremlin until 2018, with a result of 63% of the votes cast in favor. An expected victory in the polls, although different sectors of the opposition branded it electoral fraud.

At this stage, the occupation of the Crimean peninsula stood out, culminating in March 2014. In that same month, a referendum was held there, the results of which, according to official sources, concluded that 93% of the citizens wanted to separate from Ukraine and join Ukraine. to Russia.

This result was highly questioned by the majority of the international community due to the actions carried out during its development, which led to several sanctions by the United States and the European Union that caused the devaluation of the ruble.

A relevant fact in Putin’s mandate was the intervention in the Syrian War supporting the side of Bashar Ál-Asad since 2015.

After the last elections held in May 2018, Vladimir Putin will be president of the Russian Federation until 2024, obtaining his best electoral result, with more than 76% of the votes cast. Although it should be noted that the participation of the opposition was practically nullified in those elections.

controversial man

Vladimir Putin is a man who receives criticism, support and recognition throughout his presidential activity.

He was chosen Person of the Year in 2007 by Time magazine, awarded the Confucius Peace Prize in 2011 by the China Center for International Peace Studies and was nominated in 2014 for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Putin has also been criticized by the Western media for possible curtailments of democratic freedoms or human rights violations due to the number of journalists who have died in mysterious circumstances under his rule, such as investigative journalist Anna Politkóvskaya. His colleague at Novaya Gazeta Dmitri Muratov received the Nobel Peace Prize this Friday.

Another of the cases that has brought Putin the most criticism is that of the opponent Alexei Navalni, a seasoned fighter against the corruption of the elites and who has earned the title of public enemy number one of the Russian journalist. Among his investigations, there is one that accuses the president of owning a palace on the shores of the Black Sea.

Navalni was poisoned in August 2020, according to himself, on the orders of the Kremlin. He spent five months recovering in Berlin. In January 2021 he was arrested as soon as he set foot in Moscow and a few weeks later he was sentenced to serve a three-year prison sentence.

He was married 30 years before divorcing

The mother of his two daughters, Lyudmila, once described Putin as a workaholic. , the couple announced, in June 2013, that they were divorcing.

Before the television cameras, Putin said: “It was a joint decision: we hardly see each other, each one has his own life.”

Lyudmila, who is known to dislike public attention, said air travel was difficult for her and that Putin was “completely drowning in work.”

The divorce was “civilized” and the couple “will always remain close,” added the ex-wife of the leader. After the announcement of the divorce, Putin’s spokesman said that there was no other woman in the life of the Russian president.

“Just by looking at Putin’s work schedule, it is easy to see that there is no room for family relationships in his life. It is full of his responsibilities as head of state,” Peskov said.

Could be president until 2036

Vladimir Putin signed a law on April 5, 2021 that will allow him to remain in office for more than six years, which gives him the possibility of continuing in power until 2036.

Putin, 68, who has led Russia for more than 20 years, proposed the new rule last year as part of constitutional reforms that Russians backed in a vote in July 2020.

Legislators approved the law at the end of March and the president completed on April 5 the process that

This new law is part of the constitutional reforms that included economic measures that critics consider populist and the prohibition of homosexual marriage, among others.

The Russians said yes to the package during a week of voting in July last year.

practice martial arts

The president is a disciplined practitioner of martial arts. At a very young age he began to practice sambo, a kind of Russian combat technique, and also judo, in which he is a black belt, showing progress in his practice despite the obligations of his position.

According to Putin’s biographers and according to his confessions, it is noted that it was at the age of 14 in his hometown of St. Petersburg that he began to practice both martial arts and dedicate his life to sports.

“I started judo when I was 14 years old, and actually what I started doing was something called sambo, which is a Russian acronym for ‘unarmed self-defense’, which is a Russian fighting technique. And, after that, I joined a gym that was teaching judo. And I was what they call a sports master”, he narrated about his beginnings in contact sports.

In fact, Vladimir Putin advocates judo and other combat techniques as a way of disciplining oneself, a character that he has imprinted on his three periods in power.

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