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The Rise To Power of Vladmir Putin

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Vladimir Putin was a virtual unknown when he arrived on the political stage in August 1999. And even after many years in the public eye, Russia's president continues to be a man of many contrasts and layers. His personality, underneath a finely groomed public image, can be tough to fully grasp. Critics have accused him of leading an increasingly authoritarian regime that flouts electoral law and silences dissent. In 2010, demonstrators flocked to Moscow to protest what they deemed to be a fraudulent parliamentary election. 



Vladimir Putin was born in 1952 in what was then Leningrad and what is now St. Petersburg.

It has been said that the young Putin was something of terror while at elementary school. Reports from teachers and fellow students suggest that the future Russian leader talked in class, didn't do his math homework and, on one occasion, threw a chalkboard eraser at another student.

He also got into repeated fights with his gym teacher, perhaps paving the way for his later judo fame.

And, what's more, he bared a striking resemblance to a young Tom Riddle, who, as we all know, went on to become the most feared dark wizard of all time, Lord Voldemort. 

Vladimir The Student
Putin attended Leningrad State University where he studied law. He graduated in 1975 and later pursued a PhD in economics.

He would return to the university in 1990 when he became an assistant to the rector. He was in charge of international affairs.


The KGB Years

He was stationed in East Germany, and would eventually rise to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

The exact nature of what Putin was doing with the KGB is not completely clear but it is believed he was charged with stealing NATO secrets and Western technology. It is also known that he was trying to recruit people with "wireless communication" skills.

The Rise To Power
Putin was appointed to the position of chairman of St Petersburg city council's international relations committee in 1991. He later combined the role with that of deputy chairman of the entire city council in 1994. 

In 1997, he became deputy head of the Executive Office of the President before being promoted to first deputy head of the Presidential Administration.

Then, in 1999 he was appointed Prime Minister of Russia by then-president Boris Yeltsin, who would later make Putin acting president.

When the 2000 presidential election came around, Putin won 53 percent of the vote. In 2004 he did even better, sweeping up 71 percent.


Amassing a Personal Fortune

The position was an invitation to corruption. It allowed for the officials in charge to award oil leases, equipment, and other valuable assets to whichever oligarch offered the most in return. It’s believed that this is where Putin began building a personal fortune estimated to be in the tens of billions.

Putin’s wealth cannot be officially confirmed. But if the most liberal estimates are true, he is one of the few people in the world who could sit at a poker table with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Carlos Slim and call every raise. Even if Putin’s personal fortune is closer to what one would expect of a man whose official annual salary is around $101,000, he has all the trappings of the presidency, including private jets and multiple luxury homes, at his disposal. As Bloomberg writer Leonid Bershidsky pointed out in a 2013 column, when you’re that powerful, your net worth is irrelevant. Why rent if you can own, but why own if you can commandeer? It saves on paperwork, too.


The planes and residences that Putin enjoys the use of number in the dozens, and Putin’s fondness for trappings such as stupendously expensive watches (to say nothing of stolen $25,000 Super Bowl rings) is well documented. Putin’s press secretary doesn’t even categorically dispute the allegations, saying that “This is all state property and as the elected president Putin uses it according to the law. What’s more, he’s obliged to in many cases.”

Rise to the Presidency

Putin next federal position was presidential chief of staff, to which he was appointed in 1997. He then earned the equivalent of a master’s degree in economics, and within a year was named chief of the FSB, the intelligence agency that serves as one of the KGB’s successors. At this point, his career was on a sharp upward trajectory. A year later, Putin was named deputy prime minister (keep in mind, he still had yet to run for a single office) and finally prime minister. He gained both offices by presidential appointment. Outgoing president Yeltsin publicly announced that he wished Putin to succeed him, and 16 years later, the protégé has yet to cede power.

In 2008, term limits forced Putin to switch from president to prime minister. After one interim term as prime minister, he returned to the presidency and has remained in that position ever since. While Putin once famously disparaged communism as a blind alley, his actions while in power mimic those of many a Secretary General of the USSR—he has annexed parts of neighboring countries, restricted the press, and forged alliances with countries hostile to the United States (Venezuela, Cuba).

The Bottom Line

For a combination of bellicosity, ego, and overcompensation, it’s hard to find a world leader who compares to Putin. In his book Decision Points, former president George W. Bush relates a classic anecdote illustrating Putin’s character. President Bush invited Putin to the family ranch in Texas and observed that the Russian leader was deeply unimpressed with Bush’s Cocker spaniel. When Putin returned the favor a few months later, he introduced Bush to his mighty black Labrador retriever and crowed about his dog’s strength, power and vitality. When Bush later shared this anecdote with Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister responded, “You’re lucky he only showed you his dog.”

Read more: Vladimir Putin: Rise to Power and Fortune | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/030415/vladimir-putin-rise-power-and-fortune.asp#ixzz4EPWmmUIQ
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His net worth

Putin has a lot of money, like Bill Gates levels of money.

No one really knows how much Vladimir Putin is worth, but even conservative estimates are staggering.

In February, 2015 Bill Browder, formerly Russia's largest foreign investor told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that he believes Putin's net worth is $200 billion.

Lower estimates hover around $40 billion, still making him one of the richest people on earth. That's pretty impressive for a man whose salary is less than President Obama's.

Putin, of course, has denied these claims.


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