2nd Premiership (2008–present)
Putin was barred from a third term by the Constitution. First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was elected his successor.Sony VAIO VGN-G1KBN Battery
On 8 May 2008—only a day after handing the presidency to Medvedev—Putin was appointed Prime Minister of Russia. By all accounts, however, he still held the real power.
On 24–25 July 2008, Putin accused the Mechel company of selling resources to Russia at higher prices than those charged to foreign countries and claimed that it had been avoiding taxes by using foreign subsidiaries to sell its products internationally.Sony VAIO VGN-G1KBNA Battery
The Prime Minister's attack on Mechel resulted in sharp decline of its stock value and contributed to the 2008 Russian financial crisis.
In August 2008 Putin accused the US of provoking the 2008 South Ossetia war, arguing that US citizens were present in the area of the conflict following their leaders' orders to the benefit of one of the two presidential candidates.Sony VAIO VGN-G1LAP Battery
In December 2008, car owners and traders from Vladivostok and other regions protested against highly unpopular new duties and regulations on the import of foreign-made used cars (the tariff hike was introduced by Putin in violation of the international commitments undertaken by Medvedev at the G20 Summit in November 2008), one of the slogans being "Putin, resign!"Sony VAIO VGN-G1LBN Battery
This was seen as the first visible public anger at one of the government's responses to the crisis. The following month, the protests continued, with the slogans having become of a mostly political nature.
In December 2009, during the annual televised phone-in session,Sony VAIO VGN-G218LN/T Battery
the prime minister continued his reflective approach to Russian history and openly criticised Josef Stalin’s cult of personality, his “crimes against his own people”, and all forms of totalitarianism.
On 5 February 2009, Russia's liberal democratic political movement, citing the regime's "total helplessness and flagrant incompetence"Sony VAIO VGN-G218N/B Battery
maintained that "the dismantling of Putinism" and restoration of democracy in Russia were prerequisites for any successful anti-crisis measures and demanded that Putin's government resign. The Russian government's anti-crisis measures have been praised by the World Bank, which said in its Russia Economic Report from November 2008:Sony VAIO VGN-G21XP/B Battery
"prudent fiscal management and substantial financial reserves have protected Russia from deeper consequences of this external shock. The government’s policy response so far—swift, comprehensive, and coordinated—has helped limit the impact."
On 9 June 2009, after 16 years of slowly progressing accession talks with the World Trade Organization,Sony VAIO VGN-G2AANS Battery
which, according to the European Union, might be completed by the end of the year, Vladimir Putin announced that Russia withdrew from the negotiations and instead would make a new joint bid with Belarusand Kazakhstan. Senior Kremlin officials had earlier signalled, that Russia was losing patience with Western promises to let it join.Sony VAIO VGN-G2AAPS Battery
At the United Russia Congress in Moscow on 24 September 2011, Medvedev proposed that Putin stand for the Presidency in 2012; an offer which Putin accepted. Given United Russia's near-total dominance of Russian politics, many observers believe that Putin is all but assured of a third term.Sony VAIO VGN-G2AAPSA Battery
The move is expected to see Medvedev stand on the United Russia ticket in the parliamentary elections in December, with a goal of becoming Prime Minister at the end of his presidential term.
Support and popularity
According to public opinion surveys conducted by Levada Center, Putin's approval rating was 81% in June 2007, and the highest of any leader in the world.Sony VAIO VGN-G2AAPSB Battery
His popularity rose from 31% in August 1999 to 80% in November 1999 and since then it has never fallen below 65%. Observers see Putin's high approval ratings as a consequence of the significant improvements in living standards and Russia's reassertion of itself on the world scene that occurred during his tenure as President.Sony VAIO VGN-G2AAPSC Battery
Most Russians are also deeply disillusioned with the West after all the hardships of 90s, and they no longer trust pro-western politicians associated with Yeltsin that were removed from the political scene under Putin's leadership.
In early 2005, a youth organization called Nashi (meaning 'Ours' or 'Our Own People') was created in Russia, which positions itself as a democratic, anti-fascist organization.Sony VAIO VGN-G2KAN Battery
Its creation was encouraged by some of the most senior figures in the Administration of the President, and by 2007 it grew to some 120,000 members (between the ages of 17 and 25). One of Nashi's major stated aims was to prevent a repeat of the 2004 Orange Revolution during the Russian elections:Sony VAIO VGN-G2KANA Battery
as its leader Vasily Yakemenko said, "the enemies must not perform unconstitutional takeovers". Kremlin adviser, Sergei Markov said about the activists of Nashi: "They want Russia to be a modern, strong and free country... Their ideology is clear — it is modernization of the country and preservation of its sovereignty with that." Sony VAIO VGN-G2KBNA Battery
A joint poll by World Public Opinion in the US and NGO Levada Center in Russia around June–July 2006 stated that "neither the Russian nor the American publics are convinced Russia is headed in an anti-democratic direction" and "Russians generally support Putin’s concentration of political power and strongly support the re-nationalization of Russia’s oil and gas industry."Sony VAIO VGN-NR160E/S Battery
Russians generally support the political course of Putin and his team. A 2005 survey showed that three times as many Russians felt the country was "more democratic" under Putin than it was during the Yeltsin or Gorbachev years, and the same proportion thought human rights were better under Putin than Yeltsin.Sony VAIO VGN-NR160E/T Battery
Putin was Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2007. Time said that "TIME's Person of the Year is not and never has been an honor. It is not an endorsement. It is not a popularity contest. At its best, it is a clear-eyed recognition of the world as it is and of the most powerful individuals and forces shaping that world—for better or for worse".Sony VAIO VGN-NR160E/W Battery
The choice provoked sarcasm from one of Russia's opposition leaders, Garry Kasparov, who recalled that Adolf Hitler had been Time's Man of the Year in 1938, and an overwhelmingly negative reaction from the magazine's readership.Sony VAIO VGN-NR180E/S Battery
On 4 December 2007, at Harvard University, Mikhail Gorbachev credited Putin with having "pulled Russia out of chaos" and said he was "assured a place in history", "despite Gorbachev's acknowledgment that the news media have been suppressed and that election rules run counter to the democratic ideals he has promoted".Sony VAIO VGN-NR180E/T Battery
In 2007, the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda published a huge photograph of a bare-chested Putin vacationing in the Siberian mountains under the headline: "Be Like Putin." n 2010, Russian TV broadcast video of Putin co-piloting a firefighting plane to dump water on a raging wildfire.Sony VAIO VGN-NR290E/S Battery
Such photo ops are part of a public relations approach that, according to Wired, "deliberately cultivates themacho, take-charge superhero image".
Putin's name and image are widely used in advertisement and product branding.Sony VAIO VGN-NR290E/T Battery
Among the Putin-branded products are Putinka vodka, the PuTin brand of canned food, the Gorbusha Putina caviarand a collection of T-shirts with his image.
In April 2008, Putin was put on the Time 100 most influential people in the world list.Sony VAIO VGN-NR298E/S Battery
Putin has also been the target of much criticism. Several government actions made under Putin’s presidency have been criticized by some independent Russian media outlets and many Western commentators as anti-democratic.Sony VAIO VGN-NR460E/L Battery
In 2007, "Dissenters' Marches" were organized by the opposition group The Other Russia, led by former chess champion Garry Kasparov and national-Bolshevist leader Eduard Limonov. Following prior warnings, demonstrations in several Russian cities were met by police action,Sony VAIO VGN-NR460E/P Battery
which included interfering with the travel of the protesters and the arrests of as many as 150 people who attempted to break through police lines. The Dissenters' Marches have received little support among the Russian general public, according to popular polls.Sony VAIO VGN-NR498E/L Battery
The Dissenters' March in Samara held in May 2007 during the Russia-EU summit attracted more journalists providing coverage of the event than actual participants. When asked in what way the Dissenters' Marches bother him, Putin answered that such marches "shall not prevent other citizens from living a normal life".Sony VAIO VGN-NR498E/S Battery
During the Dissenters' March in Saint Petersburg on 3 March 2007, the protesters blocked automobile traffic on Nevsky Prospect, the central street of the city, much to the disturbance of local drivers. The Governor of Saint Petersburg, Valentina Matvienko, commented on the event that "it is important to give everyone the opportunity to criticize the authorities,Sony VAIO VGN-NR498E/T Battery
but this should be done in a civilized fashion". When asked about Kasparov's arrest, Putin replied that during his arrest Kasparov was speaking English rather than Russian, and suggested that he was targeting a Western audience rather than his own people.Sony VAIO VGN-NR498E/W Battery
Putin has said that some domestic critics are being funded and supported by foreign enemies who would prefer to see a weak Russia. In his speech at the United Russia meeting in Luzhniki: "Those who oppose us don't want us to realize our plan.... They need a weak, sick state!Sony VAIO VGN-NR50 Battery
They need a disorganized and disoriented society, a divided society, so that they can do their deeds behind its back and eat cake on our tab.".
In July 2007, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal wrote: "Russia has become, in the precise sense of the word, a fascist state.Sony VAIO VGN-NR50B Battery
It does not matter here, as the Kremlin's apologists are so fond of pointing out, that Mr. Putin is wildly popular in Russia: Popularity is what competent despots get when they destroy independent media, stoke nationalistic fervor with military buildups and the cunning exploitation of the Church, and ride a wave of petrodollars to pay off the civil service and balance their budgets.Sony VAIO VGN-NR51 Battery
Nor does it matter that Mr. Putin hasn't re-nationalized the "means of production" outright; corporatism was at the heart of Hitler's economic policy, too."
In its January 2008 World Report, Human Rights Watch wrote in the section devoted to Russia: "Sony VAIO VGN-NR51B Battery
As parliamentary and presidential elections in late 2007 and early 2008 approached, the administration headed by President Vladimir Putin cracked down on civil society and freedom of assembly. Reconstruction in Chechnya did not mask grave human rights abuses including torture, abductions, and unlawful detentions.Sony VAIO VGN-NR52 Battery
International criticism of Russia’s human rights record remains muted, with the European Union failing to challenge Russia on its human rights record in a consistent and sustained manner." The organization called President Putin a "repressive" and "brutal" leader on par with the leaders of Zimbabwe and Pakistan.Sony VAIO VGN-NR52B Battery
On 28 January 2008, Mikhail Gorbachev in his interview to Interfax "sharply criticized the state of Russia’s electoral system and called for extensive reforms to a system that has secured power for President Vladimir V. Putin and the Kremlin’s inner circle".Sony VAIO VGN-NR71B Battery
Following Gorbachev's interview The Washington Post's editorial said: "No wonder that Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union's last leader, felt moved to speak out. "Something wrong is going on with our elections", he told the Interfax agency. But it's not only elections: In fact, the system that Mr. Gorbachev took apart is being meticulously reconstructed."Sony VAIO VGN-NR71B2 Battery
On 21 February 2011, Gorbachev again criticized Putin and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev for the lack of democracy in Russia, particularly their claim that they would decide who would stand for president in 2012.
Corruption under Putin has increased and assumed "systemic and institutionalised form", according to a report by opposition leader Boris Nemtsov as well as other sources.Sony VAIO VGN-NR72B Battery
On 30 January 2010 in Kaliningrad, a 10,000 person anti-tax protest took place prompted by the regional authorities' decision to increase the transportation tax. Supporters of the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, Patriots of Russia, Other Russia, a number of veterans' organizations and other regional NGOs are also taking part.Sony VAIO VGN-NS10E/S Battery
Some protesters from Other Russia characterized Putin and his government as corrupt and as liars and demanded the resignation Putin's government.
On 10 March 2010, Russian opposition activists from Other Russia started an online campaign titled "Putin must go".Sony VAIO VGN-NS10J/S Battery
On 14 February 2011, Bill Browder, founder of Russian investment company Hermitage Capital Management, said that Putin ran a corrupt regime, under which Russia was not a safe place for Britons to invest or do business. He alleged that after his company exposed corruption in Russia,Sony VAIO VGN-NS10L/S Battery
he was deported, his employees were threatened, his companies and huge amounts of money were illegally taken, and that his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was illegally arrested and effectively tortured to death in prison; and that this all took place with the knowledge and apparent approval of the Russian government.Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/L Battery
On 16 July 2011 the organisers of the German Quadriga award announced that they would make no awards for the year and were cancelling their October ceremony. This followed considerable dismay at the decision to make Putin the 2011 winner, including resignations by board members and protests by previous winners including Vaclav Havel,Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/S Battery
whose spokesman said that the award should be made to individuals "who devoted their lives to protection of human rights and freedoms and promoting democracy."
Dissertation and plagiarism accusations
On 27 June 1997, at the Saint Petersburg Mining Institute Putin defended his Candidate of Science dissertation in economics titled "The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations".Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/W Battery
According to Clifford G Gaddy, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution, a Washington DC think tank, sixteen of the twenty pages that open a key section of Putin's 218-page thesis were copied either word for word or with minute alterations from a management study, Strategic Planning and Policy,Sony VAIO VGN-NS115N/S Battery
written by US professors William King and David Cleland and translated into Russian by a KGB-related institute in the early 1990s. Six diagrams and tables were also copied. Gaddy said "there's no question in my mind that this would be plagiarism", but nevertheless does not believe that the plagiarism was really intentional "Sony VAIO VGN-NS11ER/S Battery
in the sense that if you had wanted to hide where the text came from you wouldn't even list this work in the bibliography."The dissertation committee disagreed with Gaddy's claims. Chairman of the committee Natalia Pashkevich, accused Gaddy of not reading the dissertation very well. "Sony VAIO VGN-NS11E/S Battery
There are references to the article mentioned. Everything is done correctly... It is only a plus for Vladimir Putin that he used not only Russian authors, but foreign ones as well." Anatoly Suslov, provost of economics at the Mining Institute, who was present at Putin dissertation defense, recalled: "The opponent was someone from Moscow.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11J/S Battery
The defense went calmly. There were many questions, of course, since it was a candidate's dissertation, but there was no question of plagiarism. No one uncovered anything of the kind. Vladimir Putin defended himself, and he prepared his own work. All those conversations about dissertations being bought are untrue.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11L/S Battery
Ours isn't the kind of institute where you can do that." In his dissertation, and in a later article published in 1999, Putin advocated the idea of so-calledNational champions, a concept that would later become central to his political thinking.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11MR/S Battery
Family and personal life
On 28 July 1983 Putin married Kaliningrad-born Lyudmila Shkrebneva, at that time an undergraduate student of the Spanish branch of the Philology Department of the Leningrad State University and a former Aeroflot flight attendant.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11M/S Battery
They have two daughters, Mariya Putina (born 28 April 1985 in St. Petersburg) and Yekaterina Putina (born 31 August 1986 in Dresden). The daughters grew up in East Germany and attended the German School in Moscow until his appointment as Prime Minister.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11SR/S Battery
After that they studied international economics at the Finance Academy in Moscow, although it was not officially reported due to security reasons. Putin also owns a black Labrador Retriever named Koni, who has been known to accompany him into staff meetings and greeting world leaders.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11S/S Battery
In 2010 his Bulgarian colleague, Boyko Borisov, gave him aKarakachan Dog who then was named Buffy. Vladimir's cousin Igor Putin is a director of Master Bank.
Putin speaks fluent German. His family used to speak German at home as well.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11ZR/S Battery
After becoming President he was reported to be taking English lessons and could be seen conversing directly with Bush and native speakers of English in informal situations, but he continues to use interpreters for formal talks. Putin spoke English in public for the first time during the state dinner in Buckingham Palace in 2003 saying but a few phrases while delivering his condolences to theQueen on the death of her mother.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11Z/S Battery
He made a full fluent English speech while addressing delegates at the 119thInternational Olympic Committee Session in Guatemala City on behalf of the successful bid of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Winter Paralympics. Putin enjoys watching football and he supports FC Zenit Saint Petersburg.Sony VAIO VGN-NS12M/S Battery
Putin's father was "a model communist, genuinely believing in its ideals while trying to put them into practice in his own life". With this dedication he became secretary of the Party cell in his workshop and then after taking night classes joined the factory’s Party bureau.Sony VAIO VGN-NS12M/W Battery
Though his father was a "militant atheist", Putin's mother "was a devoted Orthodox believer". Though she kept no icons at home, she attended church regularly, despite the government's persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church at that time. She ensured that Putin was secretly christened as a baby and she regularly took him to services.Sony VAIO VGN-NS12S/S Battery
His father knew of this but turned a blind eye. According to Putin's own statements, his religious awakening followed the serious car crash of his wife in 1993, and was deepened by a life-threatening fire that burned down their dacha in August 1996. Right before an official visit to Israel his mother gave him his baptismal cross telling him to get it blessed “I did as she said and then put the cross around my neck. I have never taken it off since.”Sony VAIO VGN-NS21M/P Battery
Putin repeated the story to George W. Bush in June 2001, which might have inspired Bush to make his remark that he had "got a sense of Putin's soul". When asked whether he believes in God during his interview with Time, he responded saying: "... There are things I believe, which should not in my position, at least,Sony VAIO VGN-NS21M/W Battery
be shared with the public at large for everybody's consumption because that would look like self-advertising or a political striptease."
One of Putin's favorite sports is the martial art of judo. Putin began training in sambo (a martial art that originated in the Soviet Union) at the age of 14, before switching to judo, which he continues to practice today.Sony VAIO VGN-NS21S/S Battery
Putin won competitions in his hometown of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), including the senior championship of Leningrad. He is the President of the Yawara Dojo, the same Saint Petersburg dojo he practiced at when young. Putin co-authored a book on his favorite sport,Sony VAIO VGN-NS21S/W Battery
published in Russian as Judo with Vladimir Putin and in English under the title Judo: History, Theory, Practice (2004).
Though he is not the first world leader to practice judo, Putin is the first leader to move forward into the advanced levels.Sony VAIO VGN-NS21Z/S Battery
Currently, Putin holds a 6th dan(red/white belt) and is best known for his Harai Goshi (sweeping hip throw). Putin earned Master of Sports (Soviet and Russian sport title) in judo in 1975 and in sambo in 1973. At a state visit to Japan, Putin was invited to the Kodokan Institute,Sony VAIO VGN-NS21Z/S Battery
the judo headquarters, where he showed different judo techniques to the students and Japanese officials.
In July 2010 Putin appeared at a Russian-Ukrainian Orthodox Bikers festival in Sevastopol, Ukraine, riding a Harley-Davidson tricycle.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31M/P Battery
The high council of Russian bikers movements unanimously voted to elevate him into a Hells Angel range with the nickname of Abaddon. The nickname is probably influenced by angel of death and destruction Abadonnain Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita novel.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31M/W Battery
According to the data submitted during the legislative election of 2007, Putin's wealth was limited to approximately 3.7 million rubles (approximately $150,000) in bank accounts, a private 77.4-square-meter (833 sq ft) apartment in Saint Petersburg, 260 shares of Bank Saint Petersburg (with a December 2007 market price $5.36 per share ) and two 1960s Volga M21 cars that he inherited from his father and does not register for on-road use.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31S/S Battery
Putin's 2006 income totalled 2 million rubles (approximately $80,000). According to the data Putin did not make it into the 100 wealthiest Dumacandidates of his own United Russia party.[
There have also been allegations that Putin secretly owns a large fortune.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31S/S Battery
According to former Chairman of the Russian State Duma Ivan Rybkin in 2004 and Russian political scientistStanislav Belkovsky,Putin allegedly controlled a 4.5% stake (approx. $13 billion) in Gazprom, 37% (approx. $20 billion) in Surgutneftegaz and 50% in the oil-trading company Gunvor. Gunvor's turnover in 2007 was $40 billion.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/P Battery
The aggregate estimated value of these holdings would easily make Putin Russia's richest person. In December 2007, Belkovsky elaborated on his claims: "Putin's name doesn't appear on any shareholders' register, of course. There is a non-transparent scheme of successive ownership of offshore companies and funds.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/S Battery
The final point is in Zug,Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. Vladimir Putin should be the beneficiary owner." Asked at a press conference on 14 February 2008 whether he was the richest person in Europe, as some newspapers claimed; and if so, to state the source of his wealth, Putin said "This is true.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/W Battery
I am the richest person not only in Europe, but also in the world. I collect emotions. And I am rich in that respect that the people of Russia have twice entrusted me with leadership of such a great country as Russia. I consider this to be my biggest fortune. As for the rumors concerning my financial wealth, I have seen some pieces of paper regarding this.Sony VAIO VGN-NS38M/P Battery
This is plain chatter, not worthy discussion, plain bosh. They have picked this in their noses and have smeared this across their pieces of paper. This is how I view this."
Evidence in support of the allegations of Belkovsky and others was provided in December 2010 and the early months of 2011 by Sergei Kolesnikov, a businessman with ties to Putin dating from his time in St. Petersburg.Sony VAIO VGN-NS38M/W Battery
In an open letter to Dmitri Medvedev and in media interviews he claimed that he and other named individuals had participated in a scheme that involved a proportion of donations from businessmen including Roman Abramovich and Alexei Mordashov, ostensibly intended for health infrastructure projects,Sony VAIO VGN-NS130E/L Battery
being siphoned off into a Switzerland-based investment fund managed for Putin's benefit. Besides more conventional investments, the fund was allegedly used for the construction of a large Italianate palace for Putin's personal use, nicknamed Putin's Palace, located on the Black Sea coast near the village of Praskoveevka in Krasnodar Krai, Russia.Sony VAIO VGN-NS130E/S Battery
Kolesnikov also claimed that state resources were illegitimately used for the palace's construction. The Kremlin issued a denial of the allegations, which has subsequently been undermined by the investigative journalism of Novaya Gazeta, which found a paper trail leading to the Kremlin.[Sony VAIO VGN-NS130E/W Battery
- In September 2006, France's president Jacques Chirac awarded Vladimir Putin the insignia of Grand-Croix (Grand Cross) of the Légion d'honneur, the highest French decoration, to celebrate his contribution to the friendship between the two countries. This decoration is usually awarded to the heads of state considered very close to France.Sony VAIO VGN-NS140E/L Battery
- In 2007, Putin was named Time magazine's Person of the Year.
- On 12 February 2007 Saudi King Abdullah awarded Putin the King Abdul Aziz Award, Saudi Arabia's top civilian decoration.Sony VAIO VGN-NS140E/S Battery
- On 10 September 2007 UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan awarded Putin the Order of Zayed, UAE's top civil decoration.
- In December 2007 Putin was named Person of the Year by Expert magazine, influential and respected Russian business weekly.Sony VAIO VGN-NS140E/W Battery
- In February 2011 Kyrgyzstan parliament named a peak in Tian Shan mountains Vladimir Putin Peak.
During his terms in office Putin has made eight annual addresses to the Federal Assembly of Russia , speaking on the situation in Russia and on guidelines of the internal and foreign policy of the State (as prescribed in Article 84 of the Constitution ]).Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J/L Battery
The 2007 election campaign of the United Russia party went under the slogan "Putin's Plan: Russia's Victory". When asked on the "Putin's plan", Vladimir Putin said that the last five Addresses contained some key parts "devoted to the state’s medium-term development",Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J/S Battery
and "if all these key ideas were put together to build a coherent system, it can become the country's development plan in the medium-term."Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J/W Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/L Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/P Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/S Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/W Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-NS240E/L Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-NS290J/L Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-NS290J/S Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-NS50B/L Battery