Vladimir Putin Biography

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Vladimir Putin Known for being photographed shirtless and alongside wild animals (perhaps at the same time), Vladimir Putin has cultivated an image as an intimidating and fearless figure on the world stage. He’s a martial arts expert, a fearless political actor, and a former spy... His resume holds a certain cachet in the West... As a former KGB agent he’s automatically associated with secrecy, intimidation, and the old fears Americans had of the SovietUnion for much of the 21st Century. 

Putin has said of himself that he lived for a long time as an ordinary person, and ordinary is all he wishes to be. For decades though, he has been anything but ordinary, as he has spent his life climbing the ranks of the Russian government, moving farther and farther away from his “ordinary” roots. Early Life He was born in St. Petersburg in 1952, in the midst of the Cold War. Putin had two older brothers, but both died during childhood, so Putin was raised essentially as an only child. 

He was an atheist as a child but now is an Eastern Orthodox Christian. During Putin’s childhood, his mother stayed at home, and his father, a veteran of World War II, worked in a factory. As an interesting aside, his grandfather was a cook who worked for Vladimir Lenin and even prepared meals for Stalin a few times! The Putin family lived in a communal apartment shared by three families, a home where Putin says he used to hunt rats in the stairwell, perhaps a precursor to his later fascination with hunting (and with wild animals in general). 

Growing up, Putin didn’t prove himself to be anything special in his early years. But then, at the age of 12, he discovered athletic competition… It was in the midst of a competition that Putin began to set himself apart. Martial arts was his chosen sport - particularly Sambo and Judo. 

Though his mother did not initially approve of his participation in these sports, Putin proved himself to be a worthy and skilled competitor in both. At one point, his coach even showed up at the Putin home to speak with his mother about how many promises he showed. Well, that did the trick, and his parents began to support his athletic pursuits. 

Putin now holds a black belt in Judo and has continued to compete in both Sambo and Judo, establishing himself as the first world leader to be at an advanced level in these sports. He also remains the President of the same dojo he practiced in while growing up. Though he established himself as athletically talented, Putin did not excel academically during his childhood. 

He attended a local school for his early years, and then attended a magnet school focused on chemistry. He didn’t push himself, but his teachers saw that he had potential and encouraged him to focus as much on his schoolwork as he did on his martial arts practice. In the sixth grade, Putin began to push himself and it showed in his grades. He was welcomed into the Young Pioneers, the youth group run by the Communist Party. 

This was a mark of honor, as Putin had previously been one of only a few from the class not to be welcomed into the organization… From 1970 to 1975, Putin continued his studies at Saint Petersburg State University. While there he studied law and was required to join the Communist Party. He later left the Party, denouncing communism 1991 when he said of Marxism-Leninism that: “it became more and more obvious for me, more obvious truth that it was nothing more than a beautiful and harmful fairy tale.“ 

At Saint Petersburg State University Putin met Anatoly Sobchak, who would become a key figure in Putin’s political success... Sobchak was an assistant professor at the school, but he actually went on to co-author the Constitution of the Russian Federation and was also the first democratically-elected mayor of St. Petersburg. KGB Agent Putin graduated from Saint Petersburg StateUniversity in 1975 and it was then that he joined the KGB. 

The KGB was the Soviet Union’s security agency for much of the twentieth century. It was created in 1954 and continued to operate until 1991 when the Soviet Union itself was dismantled. Translated to English, KGB stands for StateSecurity Committee. It had a reputation for oppression and monitoring the actions and opinions of Soviet citizens. 

The KGB was a truly frightening organization for democracy and an indication of the dangers of Communism to westerners. The organization quelled rebellions and kept a close eye on anyone suspected to be in opposition to the Soviet regime. Putin started his career with the KGB in Leningrad, but later he was moved to Dresden, Germany. 

Before his transfer to Germany, Putin married. To this day he keeps his home life very private and information about his family is closely guarded. He and his wife Lyudmila were married from1983 until their divorce in 2013. Their divorce was seemingly amicable, with no specific reason given for it, though Lyudmila made reference to Putin’s dedication to his work and the time investment required to serve as a world leader. 

They have two daughters together, Maria and Yekaterina, both of whose lives remain incredibly secretive. They both used fake names to register for college, and it’s not entirely known in which country either of the Putin daughters currently lives. In 2016, European newspapers even described Marie as a ‘secret’ daughter - noting that she had not been known to be photographed during the entire length of Putin’s time in power. 

For a former spy and a powerful man with many enemies, it is perhaps sensible that his daughters have maintained this secret life. Putin has stated: “I have a private life in which I do not permit interference. It must be respected.” Putin moved with his family to Dresden, where he served with the KGB for five years. 

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