|“||You must obey the law, always, not only when they grab you by your special place.||„|
|~ Vladimir Putin|
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (born October 7th, 1952) is the current President of Russia in his second stint as president since 2012, having previously served from 2000 until 2008 (acting president in 1999 following the resignation of Boris Yeltsin) In between his two stints as president he served as Prime Minister of Russia. He was previously an agent of the KGB.
Putin is widely considered to be a dictator; many watchdog organizations and human rights groups have cited human rights abuses and accusations of political corruption in his regime, and often his political opponents tend to mysteriously "disappear". He also has many alleged criminal connections.
His style of governance seems to be based on that of the former Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev.
Putin was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) and studied law at Leningrad State University, graduating in 1975. Putin worked as a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, before resigning in 1991 to begin a political career in Saint Petersburg. He later moved to Moscow in 1996 to join the administration of President Boris Yeltsin.
He briefly served as Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Secretary of the Security Council, before being appointed as prime minister in August 1999. After the resignation of Yeltsin, Putin became acting president, and less than four months later was elected outright to his first term as president and was reelected in 2004. As he was then constitutionally limited to two consecutive terms as president, Putin chose to become the prime minister again from 2008 to 2012, and was reelected as president in 2012, and again in 2018.
During his first tenure as president, the Russian economy grew for eight straight years, with GDP measured by purchasing power increasing by 72%, real incomes increased by a factor of 2.5, real wages more than tripled; unemployment and poverty more than halved and the Russians' self-assessed life satisfaction rose significantly. The growth was a result of a fivefold increase in the price of oil and gas which constitute the majority of Russian exports, recovery from the post-Communist depression and financial crises, a rise in foreign investment, and prudent economic and fiscal policies.
Serving under Dmitry Medvedev from 2008 to 2012, he oversaw large scale military reform and police reform. In 2012, Putin sought a third term as president and won with almost 64% of the vote. Falling oil prices coupled with international sanctions imposed at the beginning of 2014 after Russia's annexation of Crimea and the War in Donbass led to GDP shrinking by 3.7% in 2015, though the Russian economy rebounded in 2016 with 0.3% GDP growth, and the recession officially ended.
Development under Putin has included the construction of pipelines, the restoration of the satellite navigation system GLONASS, and the building of infrastructure for international events such as the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Putin received 76% of the vote in the 2018 election and was re-elected for a six-year term ending in 2024.
Under Putin's leadership, Russia has experienced democratic backsliding. Experts do not generally consider Russia to be a democracy, citing jailing of political opponents, purges and curtailed press freedom, and the lack of free and fair elections.
Russia has scored poorly on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index and Freedom House's Freedom in the World index. Human rights organizations and activists accuse Putin of persecuting political critics and activists as well as ordering them tortured or assassinated.
- Putin is homophobic and transphobic; in 2012, he banned gay pride parades and protests in Moscow for 100 years. His administration also encourages the murder of gay people, crimes which it prevents the police from investigating, and has banned LGBT people from taking certain jobs.
- His administration has been linked to domestic terrorist attacks in Russia.
- He has enacted purges of several of his political enemies, similar to those carried out by Joseph Stalin.
- He has banned protests and has people imprisoned for posting memes that mock the government or church.
- He is allies with Bashar al-Assad, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Benjamin Netanyahu, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un, Narendra Modi, Viktor Orbán, Nicolás Maduro, Aleksandar Vučić, Viktor Yanukovych, Ramzan Kadyrov, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ali Khamenei, Alexander Lukashenko, Mohammed bin Salman, Rodrigo Duterte, Min Aung Hlaing, Aung San Suu Kyi, Hun Sen, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Isaias Afewerki, Évariste Ndayishimiye, Daniel Ortega and Nursultan Nazarbayev He was also friendly with Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-il, Fidel Castro, Robert Mugabe, Idi Amin Dada, Augusto Pinochet, Slobodan Milošević, Hugo Chávez, Pierre Nkurunziza, Than Shwe, and Omar al-Bashir.
- He has suppressed all mass media that is not controlled by the state.
- His invasions of Ukraine, Georgia, and Crimea. These incidents have caused Russia to face international sanctions, which in turn hurt Russia's economy and caused the value of the Russian Ruble to go down.
- Despite the Russian Constitution forbidding the use of torture, Putin allows Federal Security Service officers to use torture.
- During Putin’s years in office, a series of Russian democrats, journalists, and opposition leaders have been killed in mysterious circumstances.
- He is the architect of the Second Chechen War.
- Putin has displayed traits of antisemitism, as Jews are the primary target for racism in Russia.
- According to this article by Finnish magazine and tabloid Iltalehti, a report by political ministries revealed that Putin and his government are trying to control Finnish politics and possibly detach Finland politically from other Nordic countries, the Baltic states and the political camp managed by the USA and Great Britain.
- Putin has been accused of pedophilia given an incident with him lifting a five-year-old's vest and putting his face on his stomach.
- Has connections to the Russian Mafia, particularly mob boss Semion Mogilevich, and possibly other organized crime syndicates, but denies it.
- In February 2017, Putin passed legislation decriminalizing several forms of domestic violence. The amount of domestic violence-related homicides in Russia largely increased as a result.
- During the 2002 Moscow hostage crisis, Putin's police employed poison gas which killed about 100 hostages and shot and killed several militants while they were unconscious. Putin subsequently attempted to cover up the truth about the incident, lying to the public about the gas used and the hostage's cause of death, and refused to investigate the crimes committed by the police during the raid.
- Investigations by several intelligence agencies into the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 concluded that pro-Kremlin rebels armed by Putin had shot the plane down, killing all 298 civilians on board.
- The rebels who shot MH17 down are also protected by the Russian government.
- Many War crimes have been committed in Ukraine and Syria by troops under Putin's command.
- He remains in power by rigging the Russian presidential elections.
- Intelligence agencies in the United States concluded that agents, presumably led by Putin, have meddled in various elections (most notably the 2016 Presidential Election which was won by Donald Trump), although Putin has denied this and the claims are disputed.
Human right violations
His record on human rights has been marked by the flattening of Chechnya, the demolition of Georgia, the crackdown of all media, especially independently-owned media that has been critical of the Kremlin such as NTV, the instigation of an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine that culminated in the accidental downing of a civilian aircraft, the bombing of aid convoys, the slew of Kremlin opponents dropping dead from polonium poisoning, Russian soldiers taking long "vacations", and the suppression and abuse of protestors. Interestingly, when proceedings were about to be brought against him to the International Criminal Court for possible crimes against humanity, he immediately withdrew Russia as a member state.
Putin is also heavily involved in the ongoing Syrian Civil War, having supported the incumbent Bashar al-Assad government of Syria since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011: politically, with military aid, and since 30 September 2015 also through direct military involvement. The latter marked the first time since the end of the Cold War that Russia entered an armed conflict outside the borders of the former Soviet Union.
Many well known politicians and people from other categories have compared Vladimir Putin to Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler. It is often related to the activity against Ukraine and the violation of international law. Among them are Prince Charles, Hillary Clinton, Wolfgang Schaeuble, Mikheil Saakashvili, Vladislav Inozemtsev, Zbigniew Brzezinski, John McCain, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, Stephen Harper, Garry Kasparov, Charles Lane, David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Dalia Grybauskaite, Bronisław Komorowski, Arkady Babchenko, Savik Shuster, Stephen Fry, Ian Austin, Andrey Piontkovsky, Boris Nemtsov, Nikolay Fyodorov, Carl Bildt, Petro Poroshenko, and Herta Müller. The Crimean speech of the Russian President played a role for some comparisons on the Ukrainian issue.