Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, born 7 October 1952) has been the President of Russia since 7 May 2012, succeeding Dmitry Medvedev. Putin previously served as president from 2000 to 2008, and as Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. During his last term as prime minister, he was also the chairman of United Russia, the ruling party.

For 16 years, Putin was an officer in the KGB, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel before he retired to enter politics in his nativeSaint Petersburg in 1991. He moved to Moscow in 1996 and joined President Boris Yeltsin‘s administration where he rose quickly, becoming Acting President on 31 December 1999 when Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned. Putin won the subsequent 2000 presidential election, despite widespread accusations of vote-rigging,[3] and was reelected in 2004. Because of constitutionally mandated term limits, Putin was ineligible to run for a third consecutive presidential term in 2008. Dmitry Medvedev won the 2008 presidential election and appointed Putin as Prime Minister, beginning a period of so-called “tandemocracy”.[4] In September 2011, following a change in the law extending the presidential term from four years to six,[5] Putin announced that he would seek a third, non-consecutive term as President in the 2012 presidential election, an announcement which led to large-scale protests in many Russian cities. In March 2012, he won the election, which was criticized for procedural irregularities, and is serving a six-year term.[6][7]