Vladimir Putin: Quick Facts
Name: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Birth Date: 7 October 1952
Birth Place: Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Russia
Father: Vladimir Putin
Mother: Maria Putin
Spouse: Lyudmila Shkrebneva Putin (1983-2014); Married 31 Years, Divorced in April 2014
Children: Yekaterina and Maria Putin
Education: Law Degree at Leningrad State University (1975)
Religious Affiliation: Orthodox Christian
Politics: United Russia Party
Occupations: Russian Intelligence Officer; Prime Minister; President of Russia
Fact #1: Vladimir Putin came from humble beginnings; growing up in a communal apartment block of Leningrad (St. Petersburg). During his early years, Putin shared a fifth-floor apartment with his two parents, a pair of siblings, and three other families. Conditions were quite bad in the apartment. According to the Huffington Post, Putin recalled “hunting rats in the stairwell” on numerous occasions (www.huffingtonpost.com).
Fact #2: Putin is highly skilled in the martial arts, and began learning judo at the age of 11. By the early 2000s, Putin had earned his fifth dan black belt. He also holds a ninth dan in taekwondo and an eighth dan black belt in karate (earned in 2013 and 2014, respectively). Putin also participates in a wide-array of athletic activities that include fishing, horseback riding, rafting, hockey, scuba diving, swimming, and skiing (www.msn.com). In more recent years, Putin’s interests have expanded to automobile racing, particularly Formula One (F1) racing.
Fact #3: Putin is a well-known lover of animals. He currently has a Bulgarian Shepherd named Buffy, as well as an Akita Inu (Yume). He also has a goat by the name of Skazka, a dwarf horse named Vadik, and a Siberian tiger.
Fact #4: Putin was a former KGB agent, and attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with the security agency by 1990 (after nearly fifteen years of service). Putin resided in East Germany during his stint with the KGB, where he “monitored foreigners and consular officials” (www.msn.com). During the 1980s, Putin spent much of his time recruiting “people to spy on the West” (www.huffingtonpost.com). As a result of his time in Germany, Putin is fluent in the German language. According to MSN, Putin even served as an interpreter for the German Chancellor (Angela Merkel) in a 2013 visit. Before entering the ranks of the KGB, Putin studied law at Leningrad State University. One of his tutors, Anatoly Sobchak, later became “one of the leading reform politicians of the perestroika period” (www.brittanica.com).
Fact #5: Putin’s grandfather (Spiridon Ivanovich Putin) was a chef for both Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin during the early years of the Soviet Union.
Fact #6: Putin is gifted in the musical arts, and has sang at multiple charity events across Russia. He also plays the piano, and is an avid reader of spy novels. It is also rumored that Putin is a long-time fan of The Beatles; His favorite song, according to sources, is “Yesterday.”
Fact #7: In 1994, Putin served as first deputy mayor of St. Petersburg under Anatoly Sobchak. In 1998, after numerous administrative positions under the Presidential staff, Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin as director of the FSB (Federal Security Service). Soon after, Putin became secretary of the “Influential Security Council” and was appointed by Yeltsin to the position of Prime Minister in 1999. Unlike his predecessors, Putin’s public approval reached unprecedented levels across Russia due to both his resolute and decisive manner (www.msn.com).
Fact #8: Although his personal fortune is unknown, it is believed that Putin may be the richest man in the world with an estimated worth of $200 Billion. Putin owns a billion dollar estate along the Black Sea made entirely of marble. The complex contains three helicopter pads. It is also believed that Putin owns four separate yachts, twenty different palaces, over 58 aircraft, as well as a large collection of wrist watches (valued at over half a million dollars).
"People are always teaching us democracy but the people who teach us democracy don't want to learn it themselves."— Vladimir Putin
Quote #1: "Sometimes it is necessary to be lonely in order to prove that you are right."
Quote #2: "Everything will probably never be okay. But we have to try for it."
Quote #3: "The ability to compromise is not a diplomatic politeness toward a partner but rather taking into account and respecting your partner's legitimate interests."
Quote #4: "It's better to be hanged for loyalty than be reward for betrayal."
Quote #5: "You can do a lot more with weapons and politeness than just politeness."
Quote #6: "Even if we do not always agree on every aspect, nobody should take this as an excuse to declare us as enemies."
Did any of these facts about Putin surprise you?
Much of Vladimir Putin's life remains shrouded in mystery as Russia maintains a tight lid on many of his personal affairs. As a result, the facts that emerge about Putin often remain scattered and fragmented due to the scarcity of source materials available to scholars, journalists, and political scientists.
What is known, however, is that Putin continues to remain a key political figure on the world scene; serving as a leading voice in the international community and global affairs. Recent investigations pertaining to the Putin administration also reveal numerous controversies involving the Russian President. Only time will tell what new facts can be gleaned about the Russian President.
Suggestions for Further Reading
Gessen, Masha. The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. New York: Penguin Books, 2012.
Myers, Steven Lee. The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin. New York: Vintage Books, 2016.
"10 Surprising Facts About Putin's Extraordinary Past." The Huffington Post. December 07, 2017. Accessed August 06, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/19/vladimir-putin-facts_n_4995000.html.
"21 Things You Should Know about Vladimir Putin." Philippines to Shut Polluted Isle Duterte Called a Cesspool. Accessed August 06, 2018. https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/photos/21-things-you-should-know-about-vladimir-putin/ss-AAm9Ydp#image=22.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Vladimir Putin." Encyclopædia Britannica. July 18, 2018. Accessed August 06, 2018. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Vladimir-Putin.
History.com Staff. "Vladimir Putin." History.com. 2009. Accessed August 06, 2018. https://www.history.com/topics/vladimir-putin.
"Vladimir Putin Fast Facts." CNN. June 01, 2018. Accessed August 06, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2013/01/03/world/europe/vladimir-putin---fast-facts/index.html.
Press, Associated. "Vladimir Putin Says the Leader in Artificial Intelligence 'will Be the Ruler of the World'." Fox News. September 01, 2017. Accessed August 06, 2018. http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/09/01/vladimir-putin-says-leader-in-artificial-intelligence-will-be-ruler-world.html.
"Vladimir Putin." Wikipedia. August 03, 2018. Accessed August 06, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Putin.
© 2018 Larry Slawson