NPR News: Vladimir Putin


Putin had ambitions of joining the KGB from a young age.
Photo: Courtesy Vladimir Putin; reprinted with permission of PublicAffairs Books


Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin as Russia's second democratically elected president.
Photo: Courtesy Vladimir Putin; reprinted with permission of PublicAffairs Books


Putin, Russian prime minister at the time, meets with President Clinton in Oslo in November 1999.
Photo: Sharon Farmer, White House


President Bush shakes hands with Putin during a news conference in Genoa, Italy, July 22, 2001.
Photo: AP via State Department


Vladimir Putin: a biographical timeline

Oct. 7, 1952
Vladimir V. Putin is born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), the only child of a factory foreman and his wife.

1975
Putin graduates from the law department of Leningrad State University.

1975
Putin joins the KGB's Foreign Intelligence Service.

1983
Putin marries Lyudmila, a specialist in foreign languages. (They now have two teenage daughters, Katya and Masha.)

1985-90
Putin is assigned to work for the KGB in East Germany.

1990
Putin becomes assistant rector for international affairs at Leningrad State University. He also serves as an adviser to the chairman of the Leningrad City Council.

1991-94
Putin serves as chairman of the foreign relations committee of the St. Petersburg mayor's office.

Aug. 20, 1991
Putin resigns from the KGB.

1994-96
Putin serves as first deputy chairman of the St. Petersburg city government and chairman of the committee for external relations.

August 1996
Putin is transferred to Moscow to work as President Boris Yeltsin's first deputy manager.

March 1997
Putin becomes Yeltsin's deputy chief of staff in charge of the Main Control Department.

May 1998
Putin is named presidential first deputy chief of staff in charge of Russian regions.

July 1998 - August 1999
Putin serves as director of the Federal Security Service, a successor agency to the KGB.

March - August 1999
Putin also serves as Russian Security Council secretary.

August 1999
Putin is appointed prime minister.
audio Listen to an analysis by Michele Kelemen for All Things Considered. Aug. 16, 1999.

Dec. 31, 1999
Yeltsin abruptly resigns, naming Putin acting president pending elections.

March 26, 2000
Putin is elected president of Russia. He wins in the first round, capturing just over 50 percent of the vote.
audio Listen to a report by Michele Kelemen for Morning Edition. March 27, 2000.

April 2000
During a visit to London -- his first trip to the West since being elected -- Putin defends Russia's war in Chechnya.
audio Listen to a report by Julie McCarthy for All Things Considered. April 17, 2000.

May 7, 2000
Putin is sworn in as Russia's second democratically elected president. "We have a common goal: a strong Russia," he says.
audio Listen to a report by Charles Maynes for Weekend Edition Sunday. May 7, 2000.

June 2000
Putin holds a summit in Moscow with U.S. President Bill Clinton. The leaders sign two arms control agreements but disagree on U.S. plans for a national missile defense system.
audio Listen to a report by NPR's Mike Shuster for Morning Edition. June 5, 2000.

July 8, 2000
Putin gives his first state of the nation address, expressing concerns about Russia's falling living standards.
audio Listen to a report by NPR's Michele Kelemen for Weekend Edition Saturday. July 8, 2000.

July 18, 2000
Putin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin sign a joint statement opposing U.S. plans to build missile shields over North America and Asia.
audio Listen to a report by NPR's Rob Gifford for Morning Edition. July 18, 2000.

Aug. 12, 2000
The Russian submarine Kursk sinks in the Barents Sea, with a crew of 118 aboard. There are no survivors. Putin says he feels responsible for the accident but denies delays in rescue efforts.
audio Listen to a report by NPR's Michele Kelemen for All Things Considered. Aug. 23, 2000.

Dec. 14, 2000
Putin pardons Edmond Pope, freeing the American from a 20-year prison sentence for espionage.
audio Listen to a report by NPR's Michele Kelemen for All Things Considered. Dec. 14, 2000.

December 2000
Putin meets in Cuba with Fidel Castro, re-establishing ties between Havana and Moscow that broke down when the Soviet Union collapsed.
audio Listen to a report by NPR's Tom Gjelten for All Things Considered. Dec. 15, 2000.

March 2001
The United States and Russia expel 50 of each other's diplomats over alleged espionage. Putin downplays the expulsions' effects on bilateral ties.
audio Listen to a report by NPR's Michele Kelemen for All Things Considered. March 23, 2001.

March 28, 2001
Putin announces the biggest Cabinet shakeup since his election. Among the changes, he appoints Russia's first civilian defense minister.
audio Listen to a report by NPR's Michele Kelemen for All Things Considered. March 28, 2001.

April 2001
The Russian government takes over the NTV television station and cracks down on other independent media outlets. Putin is accused of silencing independent voices.
audio Listen to Eric Engleman's report for All Things Considered. April 17, 2001.

June 16, 2001
Putin, in his first summit with President Bush, says Russia and the United States "are not enemies. They do not threaten each other. And they could be fully good allies."
audio Listen to NPR's Don Gonyea discuss the Slovenia meeting with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon. June 16, 2001.

July 18, 2001
Putin holds his first formal news conference, where he praises Bush as "sincere."
audio Listen to a report by NPR's Mike Shuster for All Things Considered. July 18, 2001.

September 2001
Russia pledges to help the U.S. anti-terrorism campaign in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. Putin promises increased arms supplies to anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
audio Listen to a report by NPR's Lawrence Sheets for All Things Considered. Sept. 25, 2001.

Nov. 13-15, 2001
Putin, President Bush hold summit meetings in Washington and at Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Sources: NPR research; official Russian government biography; Putin campaign Web site; Current Biography Yearbook