Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (born 7 October 1952) is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer serving as the current president of Russia. Putin has served continuously as president or prime minister since 1999: as prime minister from 1999 to 2000 and from 2008 to 2012, and as president from 2000 to 2008 and since 2012.Putin worked as a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel before resigning in 1991 to begin a political career in Saint Petersburg. He moved to Moscow in 1996 to join the administration of president Boris Yeltsin. He briefly served as director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and secretary of the Security Council of Russia, before being appointed as prime minister in August 1999. After the resignation of Yeltsin, Putin became acting president and, less than four months later, was elected outright to his first term as president. He was reelected in 2004. As he was constitutionally limited to two consecutive terms as president at the time, Putin served as prime minister again from 2008 to 2012 under Dmitry Medvedev. He returned to the presidency in 2012 in an election marred by allegations of fraud and protests and was reelected in 2018. In April 2021, following a referendum, he signed into law constitutional amendments including one that would allow him to run for reelection twice more, potentially extending his presidency to 2036.During Putin's first tenure as president, the Russian economy grew on average by seven percent per year, following economic reforms and a fivefold increase in the price of oil and gas. Putin also led Russia during a war against Chechen separatists, reestablishing federal control of the region. As prime minister under Medvedev, he oversaw a war against Georgia as well as military and police reform. During his third term as president, Russia annexed Crimea and sponsored a war in eastern Ukraine with several military incursions made, resulting in international sanctions and a financial crisis in Russia. He also ordered a military intervention in Syria to support Russian ally Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war; eventually securing a deal that granted permanent naval bases in the Eastern Mediterranean. During his fourth term as president, he presided over a military buildup on the border of Ukraine, and in February 2022, launched a large-scale invasion, leading to international condemnation and expanded sanctions. The International Criminal Court opened an investigation into war crimes in Ukraine. In September 2022, Putin announced a partial mobilisation and officially approved the forcible annexation of four Ukrainian oblasts into Russia, an act which is illegal under international law. Under Putin's leadership, Russia has undergone democratic backsliding and a shift to authoritarianism. His rule has been characterised by endemic corruption as well as numerous human rights violations, including the jailing and repression of political opponents, the intimidation and suppression of independent media in Russia, and a lack of free and fair elections. Putin's Russia has scored poorly on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index, Freedom House's Freedom in the World index, and Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. Putin is the second-longest currently serving European president after Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus.
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