|Biography||Vladimir Putin was a KGB officer in Soviet Regime, working in foreign counter-intelligence. It was through his KGB training that he became fluent in German. He was in that generation of Soviet counter-intelligence officers that were exposed to the West and became disillusioned with the corrupt and stagnant state of the Soviet Union.|
|Putin worked with Alexei Miller in St Petersburg Local Government elections around 1991.1||1 "Miller Rising", EC, 2nd June 2001, p.60.|
|Putin rose to the position of Prime Minister around 1991, and on 1st January 2000, when Boris Yeltsin stepped down from the Presidency, he appointed Putin to be his successor. Putin's first step as President was to travel to war-torn Chechnya, and soon afterwards he brought the unpopular war to a close. However, the Moscow apartment bombings of 1999 changed this dynamic, and Putin again sent troops.|
|As President, Putin founded the Unity party to draw power from his main parliamentary rival, the Fatherland Front. He has made use of the Unity party in attempts to absorb Transdniestria and the Georgian statelets of Abkhazia and South Ossetia into Russia.2||2 "A new misery curtain", Economist, 2nd June 2001, p50.|
|Putin is also known for his government's intervention in the affairs of companies whose bosses engage in politicking. This is usually conducted under the pretext of Russia's convoluted tax laws, which it is said are impossible not to evade. However, because the people despise the immense power of the 'Oligarchs', major tycoons who rose to prominence under Yeltsin, Putin's moves against them are quite popular.|
|More recently, Putin was accused of meddling in the 2004 Ukrainian election on the side of the incumbent.|
|Although the Russia over which Vladimir Putin presides does not enjoy the same standard of openness and democracy that would be expected in Western Europe, it must be remembered that Putin's government is far more democratic than many in the immediate region, and faces immense problems as part of the legacy of economic and political repression under the Soviet regime.|
|Links|| President of Russia homepage (only in Russian)
All About Putin - Information on Putin, from a page which started out as an information site on Yeltsin.
ABC News biography of Vladimir Putin
Who2 on Vladimir Putin
Russia Votes - Putin - information on Putin on the Russia Votes page.
|See Also||Boris Yeltsin, Anatoly Sobchak, Alexei Miller|