Lydia Cherian, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of the Russian Federation, has garnered worldwide attention for his invasion of Ukraine. But what is the story of the man behind the invasion?
Vladimir Putin was born in former Leningrad (currently St. Petersburg), on October 7, 1952. He grew up poor in a small apartment with his mother, Maria Putina, a factory worker, and his father, Vladimir Putin, who was conscripted into the Navy.
In school, he took a liking to sambo and judo, as well as many other sports that he is seen on Russian State Television continuing to do in his free time.
He graduated from Leningrad State University with a degree in law in 1975. In that same year, Putin joined the KGB and began working as a counterintelligence officer in East Germany, but eventually left in 1991. Putin then became a consultant to a ‘liberal; politician’ named Anatoly Sobchak.
Anatoly and Putin were extremely close and influenced each other’s careers greatly. When Sobchak became the mayor of Leningrad, Putin held many high-ranking positions that Anatoly appointed him to, including deputy mayor.
Years later, when Sobchak was not elected as mayor again, Putin returned to Moscow, where then-president Boris Yelstin, appointed Putin as Deputy Head of Management. At this time, Putin handled Kremlin talks with governments from certain territories in Russia.
A few years later, Putin was appointed head of the Federal Security Service, which in essence, was a branch of the KGB. Fast forward and Yeltsin fires his former Prime Minister, and Putin is promoted to Prime Minister.
In 1999, the same year Putin was promoted to PM, Yeltsin stepped down as President and Putin took his place. Putin was allegedly reluctant to take the position as President.
From then on, Putin has held the position as President with little to no opposition, as a result of oppression or his political opponents mysteriously dying. Putin’s political career has been full of controversy and hundreds of claims of corruption directed at him and his entourage of elite Russian billionaires with whom he surrounds himself.
The controversy surrounding Putin stems from multiple things. For starters, Putin’s procession with the war in Chechnya resulted in the deaths of thousands of Chechen civilians and soldiers as well as Russian soldiers. The invasion of Crimea in 2014, caused numerous sanctions to be imposed on Russia, which rocked the Russian economy and caused the value of the ruble to plummet. In addition, Putin has been criticized for his ‘anti-gay’ rhetoric as well as laws that affect many gay people in Russia.
Putin’s political career has been rocky and polarizing. Many people hate him, and many people love him. Some come to the defense of Putin, with the mentality of, “Someone worse than Putin could come along” or “Putin is defending us from corrupt Western beliefs” while others harbor a deep hatred of Putin, pointing out oppression, or other questionable things Putin enforces.