Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (born October 7, 1952) is the incumbent President of Russia. He became Acting President of Russia on December 31, 1999, succeeding Boris Yeltsin, and was sworn in as President following the elections on May 7, 2000. In 2004, he was re-elected for a second term (and last under the current Constitution), which expires in 2008.

Putin was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) on October 7, 1952. His biography, От Первого Лица (Romanization: Ot Pervogo Litsa), translated into English in 2000 and paid for by his election campaign, speaks of humble beginnings, including early years in a communal apartment. According to his biography, in his youth he was eager to emulate the intelligence officer characters played on the Soviet screen by actors such as Vyacheslav Tikhonov and Georgiy Zhzhonov.

In the same book, Putin notes that his paternal grandfather, a chef by profession, was brought to the Moscow suburbs to serve as a cook, at one of Stalin's dachas. In The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore, a footnote on page 300 cites Putin as saying that while his grandfather did not discuss his work very often, he recalled serving meals to Rasputin as a boy and also prepared food for Lenin. His mother, Maria Ivanovna Putina (1911-1999), was a factory worker and his father, Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin (1911-1999), was conscripted into the Soviet Navy, where he served in the submarine fleet in the early 1930s. His father subsequently served with NKVD in a sabotage group during the Second World War. Two older brothers were born in the mid-1930s; one died within a few months of birth; the second succumbed to diphtheria during the siege of Leningrad.

Putin graduated from the International Branch of the Law Department of the Leningrad State University in 1975 and was recruited into the KGB. In the University he also became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, where he remained until the ban on it imposed in August 1991.

He worked in the Leningrad and Leningrad region Directorate of KGB, where he was acquainted with Sergei Ivanov.

In 1976 he completed KGB retraining courses. In 1978 he entered other retraining courses in foreign intelligence in Moscow. After completing the training he served in the First Department of the Leningrad Directorate (foreign intelligence) until 1983. In 1983-1984 he studied at the KGB High School in Moscow. In 1984 Putin was appointed Major.

From 1985 to 1990 the KGB stationed Putin in Dresden, East Germany, in what he regards as a minor position. Following the collapse of the East German regime, Putin was recalled to the Soviet Union and returned to Leningrad, where in June 1990 he assumed a position with the International Affairs section of Leningrad State University, reporting to Vice-Rector Yuriy Molchanov. At his new position, Putin was reacquainted with Anatoly Sobchak (1937-2000), then Mayor of Leningrad. Sobchak served as an Assistant Professor during Putin's university years and was one of Putin's lecturers. Putin formally resigned from the state security services on August 20, 1991, during the KGB-supported abortive putsch against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

In May 1990 Putin was appointed Mayor's adviser for international affairs. On June 28, 1991 he was appointed head of the Committee for External Relations of the St. Petersburg Mayor's Office, with responsibility for promoting international relations and foreign investments. The Committee was also used to register business ventures in St. Petersburg. During the time Putin led this Committee, Alexei Miller the current CEO of Gazprom,also served on it from (December 15, 1991 – 1996) and was a Deputy Head of the Committee from 1992 – 1996. Less than one year after taking control of the committee, Putin was investigated by a commission of the city legislative council. Commission deputies Marina Salye and Yury Gladkov concluded that Putin understated prices and issued licenses permitting the export of non-ferrous metals valued at a total of $93 million in exchange for food aid from abroad that never came to the city. The commission recommended Putin be fired, but there were no immediate consequences. Putin remained Head of the Committee for External Relations until 1996. While heading the Committee for External Relations, from 1992 to March 2000 Putin was also on the advisory board of the German real estate holding St. Petersburg Immobilien und Beteiligungs AG (SPAG) which has been investigated by German prosecutors for money laundering.

From 1994 to 1997 Putin was appointed to additional positions in the St. Petersburg political arena. In March 1994 he became First Deputy Head of the Administration of the city of Saint Petersburg. In 1995 (through June 1997) Putin led the St. Petersburg branch of the pro-government Our Home Is Russia political party. During this same period from 1995 through June 1997 he was also the Head of the Advisory Board of the JSC Newspaper Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti.

In 1996 Anatoly Sobchak lost the St. Petersburg Moyoral election to Vladimir Yakovlev. Putin was called to Moscow and in June 1996 assumed position of a Deputy Chief of the Presidential Property Management Department headed by Pavel Borodin. He occupied this position until March 1997. On March 26, 1997 President Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin Deputy Chief of Presidential Staff, where he remained until May 1998, and Chief of the Main Control Directorate of the Presidential Property Management Department (until June 1998).

On June 27, 1997 at the Saint Petersburg Mining Institute Putin defended his Candidate of Science dissertation in economics titled The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations. According to Clifford G Gaddy, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institute, 16 of the 20 pages that open a key section of Putin’s work were copied either word for word or with minute alterations from a management study, Strategic Planning and Policy, written by US professors William King and David Cleland. The study was translated into Russian by a KGB-related institute in the early 1990s.

On May 25, 1998 Vladimir Putin was appointed First Deputy Chief of Presidential Staff for regions, (replacing Viktoriya Mitina), and on July 15 of the same year - the Head of the Commission for the preparation of agreements on the delimitation of power of regions and the federal center attached to the President (replacing Sergey Shakhray). After Putin's appointment, the commission completed no such agreements, although during Shakhray's term as the Head of the Commission there were 46 agreements signed.

On July 25, 1998 Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Putin Head of the FSB (one of the successor agencies to the KGB), the position Putin occupied until August 1999. He became a permanent member of the Security Council of the Russian Federation on October 1, 1998 and its Head on March 29, 1999. In April 1999, FSB Chief Vladimir Putin and Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin held a televised press conference in which they discussed a video that had aired nationwide March 17 on the state-controlled Russia TV channel which showed a naked man very similar to the Prosecutor General of Russia, Yury Skuratov, in bed with two young women. Putin claimed that expert FSB analysis proved the man on the tape to be Skuratov and that the orgy had been paid for by persons investigated for criminal offences. Skuratov had been adversarial toward President Yeltsin and had been aggressively investigating government corruption.

On July 28, 1983 Putin married Lyudmila Shkrebneva (now Putina), at that time an undergraduate student of the Spanish branch of the Philology Department of the Leningrad State University and a former airline stewardess, who had been born in Kaliningrad (formerly Königsberg) on January 6, 1958. They have two daughters, Maria Putina (born 1985) and Yekaterina (Katya) Putina (born 1986 in Dresden). The daughters attended the German School in Moscow (Deutsche Schule Moskau) until his appointment as prime minister.

Since 1992, Putin had owned a dacha of about 7 thousand sq. m. in Solovyovka, Priozersky district of the Leningrad region, which is located on the eastern shore of the Komsomol'skoye lake on the Karelian Isthmus near St. Petersburg. His neighbours there are Vladimir Yakunin, Andrei Fursenko, Sergey Fursenko, Yuriy Kovalchuk, Viktor Myachin, Vladimir Smirnov and Nikolay Shamalov. On November 10, 1996, together they instituted the co-operative society Ozero (the Lake) which united their properties. This was confirmed by Putin's income and property declaration as a nominee for the presidency in 2000. However, this real estate was not listed in his income and property declaration for 1998 - 2002 submitted prior to the 2004 elections.

Putin is a practicing member of the Russian Orthodox Church, led by Patriarch Alexius II. His conversion, which most observers agree was sincere, followed a life-threatening fire at his dacha in August 1996. Very unusual for communist Russia, his mother had been a regular church-goer. His father was a communist and atheist (although he seems not to have objected to his wife's beliefs).

Putin speaks German with near-native fluency. His family used to speak German at home as well. He also speaks passable English.

On August 9, 1999, Vladimir Putin was appointed one of three First Deputies Prime Minister, which enabled him later on this day, as the previous government led by Sergei Stepashin had been sacked, to be appointed acting Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation by President Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin also announced that he wanted to see Putin as his successor. Later, that same day, Putin agreed to run for the presidency. On August 16 State Duma approved his appointment as Prime Minister with 233 votes in favour (vs. 84 against, 17 abstained), while a simple majority of 226 was required, making him Russia's fifth PM in less than eighteen months. On his appointment, few expected Putin, virtually unknown to the general public, to last any longer than his predecessors. Yeltsin's main opponents and would-be successors, Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov and former Chairman of the Russian Government Yevgeniy Primakov, were already campaigning to replace the ailing president, and fought hard to prevent Putin's emergence as a potential successor. Putin's law-and-order image and his unrelenting approach to the renewed crisis in Chechnya (see also below) soon combined to raise his popularity and allowed him to overtake all rivals. While not formally associated with any party, Putin pledged his support to the newly formed Unity party, which won the second largest percentage of the popular vote (23,32%) in the December 1999 Duma elections, and in turn was supported by it. Putin seemed ideally positioned to win the presidency in elections due the following summer.

His rise to Russia's highest office ended up being even more rapid: on December 31, 1999, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned and, according to the constitution, Putin became (acting) President of the Russian Federation.

While his opponents were preparing for an election later that year in June, Yeltsin's resignation resulted in the elections being held within three months, in March. This put all of his opponents at a disadvantage, giving him the element of surprise and an eventual victory. Presidential elections were held on March 26, 2000; Putin won in the first round.

In December 2000 Putin sanctioned the change of the National Anthem of Russia to restore the music of the pre-1991 Soviet anthem, but with new words.

On February 12 2001, Putin signed a federal law on guarantees for former presidents and their families (See Vladimir Putin legislation and program). In 1999 Yeltsin and his family were under scrutiny for charges related to money-laundering by the Russian and Swiss authorities.

On March 14, 2004, Putin won re-election to the presidency for a second term, earning 71 percent of the vote.

On September 13, 2004, following the Beslan school hostage crisis, Putin suggested the creation of the Public Chamber of Russia and launched an initiative to replace the direct election of the governors and presidents of Federal subjects of Russia with a system whereby they would be proposed by the President and approved or disapproved by regional legislatures.

A significant amount of Putin's second term has been focused on domestic issues. According to various Russian and western media reports, Putin is extremely concerned about the ongoing demographic problems, such as the death rate being higher than birth rate and immigration rate, cyclical poverty, and housing concerns within the Russian Federation. In 2005, four "national projects" were launched in the fields of health care, education, housing and agriculture. In his May 2006 annual speech, Putin proposed increasing maternity benefits and prenatal care for women. Putin has also been quite strident about the need to reform the judiciary. He refers to the federal judiciary as being "Sovietesque" and wants a judiciary that interprets and implements the code rather than the current situation, where many of the judges hand down the same verdicts as they would have under the old Soviet judiciary structure. In 2005, the responsibility for the federal prisons was transferred from the Interior Ministry to the Ministry of Justice.

One of the most controversial aspects of Putin's second term was the prosecution of Russia's richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, President of Yukos oil company, for fraud and tax evasion. While much of the international press saw this as a reaction against a man who was funding political opponents of the Kremlin, both liberal and Communist, the Russian government has argued that Khodorkovsky was in fact engaged in corrupting a large segment of the Duma to prevent changes in the tax code aimed at taxing windfall profits and closing offshore tax evasion vehicles. Certainly, many of the initial privatizations, including that of Yukos, are widely believed to have been fraudulent (Yukos, valued at some $30bn in 2004, had been privatized for $110 million), and like the other oligarchic groups, the Yukos-Menatep name has been frequently tarred with accusations of links to criminal organizations.

In the recent years, the political philosophy of Putin's administration has been described as "sovereign democracy". The political term recently gained wide acceptance within Russia itself and unified various political elites around it. According to its supporters, policy of the President must above all be supported by the popular majority in Russia itself and not be governed from outside of the country; such popular support constitutes the founding principle of a democratic society.

Putin's rise to public office in August 1999 coincided with an aggressive resurgence of the near-dormant conflict in the North Caucasus, when Chechen separatists regrouped and invaded neighboring Daghestan. Both in Russia and abroad, Putin's public image was forged by his tough handling of the war. On assuming the role of acting President on December 31, 1999, Putin proceeded on a previously scheduled visit to Russian troops in Chechnya. In recent years, Putin has distanced himself from the management of the continuing conflict. In 2003, a referendum was held in Chechnya adopting a new constitution which declares the Republic as a part of Russia. The situation has been gradually stabilized with the parliamentary elections and the establishment of a regional government.

In international affairs, Putin has been trying, with some success, to re-establish the strong and independent role once played by the Soviet Union. However, this has been done without returning to the Cold War-like relations with the West. For example, on February 2007 at annual Munich Conference on Security Policy, he criticised the United States' unipolar dominance in global relations, and pointed out that the United States displayed an "almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations". He said the result of it is that "no one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race."

Instead he called for "fair and democratic world order that would ensure security and prosperity not only for a select few, but for all". He proposed certain initiatives such as establishing international centres for the enrichment of uranium and prevention of deploying weapons in outer space.[36] In his January 2007 interview Putin said Russia is in favor of democratic multipolar world and strengthening the system of international law.

At the same time, Putin's Russia has been seeking stronger and more constructive ties with Europe and the United States. Thus, Russia has become a full-fledged member of the G8 and chaired the group in the calendar year of 2006 (which has now passed on to Germany). At the same time, Putin's attention was equally focused on Asia, in particular China and India.

While President Putin is criticized as an autocrat by some Western politicians, his relationships with US President George W. Bush, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, French President Jacques Chirac, and the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi are reported to be friendly. Putin's relationship with Germany's new Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is expected to be "cooler" and "more business-like" than his partnership with Gerhard Schröder.

Putin surprised many Russian nationalists and even his own defense minister when, in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the United States, he agreed to the establishment of coalition military bases in Central Asia before and during the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. Russian nationalists objected to the establishment of any US military presence on the territory of the former Soviet Union, and had expected Putin to keep the US out of the Central Asian republics, or at the very least extract a commitment from Washington to withdraw from these bases as soon as the immediate military purpose had passed.

During the Iraq crisis of 2003, Putin opposed Washington's move to invade Iraq without the benefit of a United Nations Security Council resolution explicitly authorizing the use of military force. After the official end of the war was announced, American president George W. Bush asked the United Nations to lift sanctions on Iraq. Putin supported lifting of the sanctions in due course, arguing that the UN commission first be given a chance to complete its work on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

In 2005, Putin and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder negotiated the construction of a major gas pipeline over the Baltic exclusively between Russia and Germany. Schröder also attended Putin's 53rd birthday in Saint Petersburg the same year. The end of 2006 brought strained relations between Russia and Britain in the wake of the murder of a former FSB officer in London by poisoning. Press reports suggest that Putin's government is providing only limited cooperation with the investigation.[citation needed]

During his time in office, Putin has attempted to strengthen relations with other members of the CIS. The "near abroad" zone of traditional Russian influence has again become a foreign policy priority under Putin, as the EU and NATO have grown to encompass much of Central Europe and, more recently, the Baltic states. While tacitly accepting the enlargement of NATO into the Baltic states, Putin attempted to increase Russia's influence over Belarus and Ukraine.

It is difficult to say whether these moves have been successful or not. During the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election, Putin visited Ukraine twice before the election to show his support for Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and congratulated him on his alleged victory before the official election results had been announced. Putin's direct support for pro-Russian Yanukovych was widely criticized as unwarranted interference in the affairs of post-Soviet Ukraine. More recently, a crisis has emerged in Russia's relations with Georgia and Moldova, both former Soviet republics accusing Moscow of supporting separatist entities in their territories.

Since early 1990s, a number of Russian reporters who have covered situation in Chechnya, contentious stories on organized crime, state and administrative officials, and large businesses were killed. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 44 journalists were murdered in Russia since 1992: 30 of them while Boris Yeltsin was a president, and 14 after Vladimir Putin became president.

On October 7, 2006, Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist who ran a campaign exposing corruption in the Russian army and its conduct in Chechnya, was shot at home. The death of this Russian journalist triggered an outcry of criticism of Russia in the Western media, with accusations that, at best, Putin has failed to protect the country's new independent media. When asked about Politkovskaya's murder on October 10, Putin said it was a "disgusting crime" and there is "no forgiveness" for those who had committed it. He added that Politkovskaya's assassination brought much more harm to the Russian authorities than her publications.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, "All three major television networks are now in the hands of Kremlin loyalists." Indeed, while «Сhannel Russia» was state-owned since its foundation in 1991, major shareholders of ORT and NTV (Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky, respectively) sold their stocks to the government and Gazprom under questionable circumstances in 2000-2001. Moreover, TV6, a media outlet owned by Berezovsky, was closed for financial problems in 2003. Along with that, a plenty of media outlets actively develop now while state participation in them is minimal. Private TV networks Ren-TV and TVC which cover 80% and 64% of population respectively, broadcast independent analytical programms like "25th hour", "Week" with Marianna Maksimovskaya, "Postscriptum", "Moment of truth". Gazprom-owned NTV airs "Real Politics" with Gleb Pavlovsky and "Sunday Evening" with Vladimir Solovyov. In 2006 Putin commented that in the period of 1990s freedom of press in Russia "was indeed under threat, not from the former state ideology that once held a monopoly on expression, but from the dictates of oligarchic capital".

The actual influence of Kremlin on the media space remains the matter of pure speculations, causing even harsh debates between journalists of "liberal" (e.g. Shenderovich) and "patriotic" (e.g. Oleg Kashin) persuasions. According to journalist Maxim Kononenko, "People invent censorship for themselves, and what happens on some TV channels, some newspapers, happens not because Putin dials them and says: No, this mustn't go. But because their bosses are fools."

SORM. Russian Internet service providers are required by law to link their computers to the FSB. Under an amendment signed into law by Putin and taking effect from January of 2000, an additional seven law-enforcement bodies have been authorized to monitor e-mail and other electronic traffic. Technically, all these agencies are required to obtain a warrant before examining private Internet communications. Despite critical overview of the time the law was signed, societal effect of the system remained minimal, partly due to seeming absense of trials connected with SORM.

While many reforms taken in modern Russia under Putin’s rule were generally criticized by Western media, a joint poll by World Public Opinion in the U. S. and the Levada Center in Russia around June-July 2006 stated that "neither the Russian nor the American publics are convinced Russia is headed in an anti-democratic direction" and "Russians generally support Putin’s concentration of political power and strongly support the re-nationalization of Russia’s oil and gas industry" Russians generally support reforms initiated by Putin's team.

According to public opinion surveys conducted by Levada Center, Putin's approval rating is 81% as of February 2007. It started at 31% in August 1999, rose to 80% by November 1999 and never fell below 65% since then.

On March 3, 2007, an unsanctioned demonstration of the radical liberal and leftist opposition groups (up to 5,000 people, according to different estimates - see Saint Petersburg March of the Discontented) was organized in St. Petersburg.

Putin works out regularly, spending much of his free time exercising. One of Putin's favorite sports is the martial art of judo. Putin began sambo (Soviet martial art developed for Red Army and NKVD) at the age of 14, before switching to judo, which he continues to study today. Putin won competitions in his hometown of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), including the senior championship of Leningrad. He is the President of the Yawara Dojo, the same St. Petersburg dojo he studied at as a youth. Putin co-authored a book on his favorite sport, published in Russian as Judo with Vladimir Putin and in English under the title Judo: History, Theory, Practice.

Though he is not the first world leader to practice judo, Putin is the first leader to move forward in the advanced levels. Currently, Putin is a black belt (6th dan) and is best known for his Harai Goshi, a sweeping hip throw.

After a state visit to Japan, Putin was invited to the Kodokan Institute and showed the students and Japanese officials different judo techniques.

Vladimir Putin is Master of Sports (Soviet and Russian sport title) in Judo and Sambo.

Vladimir Putin is also a fan of Thoroughbred horse racing and often attends races at racecourses throughout Russia.

* In September 2006, France's president Jacques Chirac awarded Vladimir Putin the dignity of the Grand Cross of the Legion d'Honneur, the French highest decoration, to celebrate his contribution to the friendship between the two countries. This decoration is usually awarded to the heads of state considered as very close to France.
* On February 12, 2007 Saudi King Abdullah awarded Putin the King Abdul Aziz Award, Saudi Arabia's top civilian decoration.

* In reply to criticism from a French journalist about the war in Chechnya at the Russia-EU summit in Brussels in 2002, Putin said: "If you want to completely become an Islamic radical and are ready to have a circumcision, then I invite you to Moscow. We have a multi-cultural country and have specialists even on this issue. And I will recommend him to perform this surgery in such a way so that nothing would grow out of you again."
* On June 28, 2005, Putin made news in an incident involving the New England Patriots Super Bowl XXXIX championship ring. Three days earlier Putin had met with U.S. business executives, including Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Towards the end of the meeting, Kraft showed Putin a ring with 124 diamonds, impressing the president. At this point Kraft handed the ring to Putin who tried it on for a moment, then slipped it into his pocket and left. The event made headlines as the New York Sun [29], and other news outlets, suggested that Kraft did not intend to give away the ring. Kraft, who has Russian ancestors, later told the Associated Press that he gave the ring to Putin as a gift and token of respect.
* On October 19, 2006, Putin was quoted as saying to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel about Israeli President Moshe Katsav, "Say hello to your president. He really surprised us...turned out to be quite a mighty man. He raped 10 women. I never expected it from him. He surprised all of us. We all envy him. In a call-in television program Putin did not deny making the comment but said that "using instruments such as protecting women’s rights to resolve political issues that are unconnected with this problem is absolutely inadmissible. And this is because it actually discredits the struggle for women’s rights". He also criticized the press's 'eavesdropping' on his conversation with Olmert as 'unseemly'.

* On June 28, 2006 while walking by a small crowd of tourists in the Kremlin courtyard, Putin gave a "belly kiss" to a young boy of five or six years of age. Putin had a brief conversation with the child, then tugged at the boy's shirt lifting it up and kissing the boy on the bare stomach. Later it has been stated that during their conversation the boy complained about having an ache in his belly, and Putin's kiss was a usual paternal action (kissing on what hurts).
* In a transcript published on July 12, 2006, Putin is reported to have responded to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's political criticism by saying, "I think the statements of your Vice-President of this sort are the same as an unsuccessful hunting shot."[33] U.S. President George W. Bush later remarked that the comment was "pretty clever, actually, quite humorous."
* In response to Bush's accusations during the press conference at the 32nd G8 summit held in July of 2006, concerning the decline of democracy in modern Russia, Putin stated, "We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly."
* Also during the 32nd G8 summit, following journalists' criticisms of the Russian government's record on Human rights, Putin responded saying that, "There are also other questions, questions ... about the fight against corruption. We'd be interested in hearing your experience, including how it applies to Lord Levy." Lord Levy, a member of the British House of Lords, was arrested (and bailed) one week prior, in relation to the "Cash for Peerages" police inquiry into the soliciting of financial donations to British political parties in return for honours.

* The weekly TV show Kukly used puppets representing the most recognizable and powerful Russian politicians, including a puppet-president, to satirize current events. The show was aired on NTV channel from 1994 to 2002. The success of Kukly was to a great extent due to its scriptwriter Victor Shenderovich.
* Short humorous stories about Vladimir Vladimirovich's everyday life and work Vladimir Vladimirovich™ are regularly published by journalist Maxim Kononenko, popularly known under the sobriquet "Mr. Parker". In these essays, often alluding to contemporary events, Parliament is depicted as consisting of androids, a Deputy Chief of Staff being both their constructor and programmer; Vladimir Vladimirovich is fond of collecting things concerned with key historical events or people, etc. A collection of these stories, thoroughly commented, was published as a book in August 2005. German and English versions of these anecdotes are available as well. Kononenko wrote that some of these stories were brought to Putin.
o Screen versions of the Vladimir Vladimirovich™ series are shown in a weekly analytical programme "Realnaya politika" with Gleb Pavlovsky, aired on NTV channel (although the androids are not shown).
* Andrey Dorofeev's vision of Putin compares Putin (a former KGB agent) to Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the KGB.
* In the South Park episode Free Willzyx, Putin is shown as a president that badly needs money for the Russian economy. He is shown to be extremely excited when he is asked to fly a whale to the moon for 20 million dollars as this money will save Russia.
* Several comedic sources have commented on the fact that Putin bears a resemblance to the House-Elf Dobby from the film version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
* On his show, The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert announced his support for Putin in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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