Russian Federation’s top dog, Vladimir Putin had his influence over Russia well before he was elected as President.
Because of his dominance, he is often accused that he piloted the nation from being a liberal democracy to an autocratic state.
Several political commentators have tagged Putin as a dictator of the modern day Russia, because Putin has been blamed for passing anti-liberal laws, rigging votes during elections and of course, invading territories in Georgia and Ukraine.
In this article on Vladimir Putin facts, we are going to learn some very interesting facts about Putin and take a peek into his life.
Vladimir Putin Facts: 1-5
1. Full name of Vladimir Putin is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. He was born in Leningrad (now renamed as St. Petersburg), Russia on October 7, 1952.
2. He was born in a poor family. His father’s name was Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin and his mother’s name was Maria Ivanovna Shelomova.
3. His wife’s name is Lyudmila Shkrebneva (Putina). He has fathered two daughters with Lyudmila, whose names are Yekaterina Putina and Mariya Putina.
4. Putin’s mother Maria survived the Siege of Leningrad by Finnish and German troops between 1941 and 1944. During the siege period, wall supplies to Leningrad were cut off, starving and killing about a million people. One of the elder brothers of Putin also perished during that siege. Putin was not yet born then.
5. A communal apartment block was where Putin lived with his siblings and parents. During his childhood, Putin used to hunt rats in the stairwell of his residence. This is what he revealed in his official biography.
Vladimir Putin Facts: 6-10
6. During puberty, Putin realized that the other male teenagers were growing up fast. In order to not be bullied by them, he started learning judo and by the time he was 18, he achieved a black belt.
7. Not only Judo, he even learned Samozashchita Bez Oruzhiya – popularly known as Sambo – a Russian martial art.
8. Nothing is known about his daughters Yekaterina Putina and Mariya Putina. There are no family photographs ever published. Their life remains a complete secret. Both daughters were born in East-Germany’s Dresden during the mid-1980s.
9. Putin is very fond of dogs. He has several of them. In 2007, Putin was blamed for scaring Angela Merkel – the German Chancellor. Putin and Angela were in a diplomatic meeting to discuss Russia supplying energy to Germany. Putin was aware that Angela was very afraid of dogs as she was bitten by one when she was a child. Still, Putin brought his black Labrador to the meeting.
10. In 2011, he supposedly discovered Greek vases dating back to 6th century BCE while diving in the Black Sea. Two months later it just turned out that the vases were already found and the archeologists were paid to deliberately put the vases there so that Putin could recover them.
Vladimir Putin Facts: 11-15
11. On his 62nd birthday in 2014 an artist created and displayed an art collection which depicted the 12 Labors of Putin. Sounds like you have heard it before somewhere? Remember the 12 Labors of Hercules? 12 Labors of Putin is an ode to that. The artist depicted Putin shooting down American fighter planes using a bow and arrows, strangling terrorists with bare hands and more.
12. As if 12 Labors of Putin was not enough, Grozny natives who adore their nation’s head actually created a 2000-foot-long Russian flag by wearing dresses of different colors. They even made a huge banner which had a cartoon of Barack Obama wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Putin on it. The banner was hung from a bridge.
13. In 2010 when the Ryazan region in Moscow came under wildfire, attempts were made to put off the fire using fire-fighting planes. Putin copiloted one such plane. Basically all he did was to push the button that released the stored water on the fire below.
14. Putin’s grandfather, Spiridon Ivanovich Putin, was Vladimir Lenin’s cook at Lenin’s house, Gorki. After Lenin died, Spiridon Ivanovich Putin continued to cook meals for several other Soviet leaders, including Joseph Stalin.
15. Putin worked as a foreign intelligence officer for the KGB. His service tenure in that rank was 16 years. During that period, he became Lieutenant Colonel and eventually resigned from KGB in 1991.
Vladimir Putin Facts: 16-20
16. During his tenure with KGB, Putin was sent to East Germany’s Dresden as a translator, but was actually an undercover agent. He stayed there from 1985 to 1990.
17. The Fall of the Berlin Wall began on 9th November 1989. During that period, in order to avoid demonstrators from obtaining KGB files, he burned the files.
18. Once the Communist East German government collapsed, Putin returned to Leningrad and in June 1991 and started working in KGB’s International Affairs section. In August 1991 he resigned when the abortive putsch against Mikhail Gorbachev (the then Soviet President) started with the support from KGB.
19. According to Putin, the end of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republic or simply, Soviet Union) was the 20th century’s greatest geopolitical catastrophe.
20. Though Putin is beyond the nostalgia for the USSR, he definitely has great affinity for USSR’s symbols of power. No wonder, he reintroduced the Soviet anthem (however, he had the lyrics changed).
Vladimir Putin Facts: 21-25
21. Steven Seagal and Vladimir Putin are longtime pals. Putin is so fond of this former action hero that he once proposed to the USA to make Seagal Russia’s honorary consul in Arizona and California. Did it work out? Well, Barack Obama said in response, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me’.
22. Putin plays ice hockey and practices for hours in an ice rink outside town. Does he love that sport? We don’t know! But we do know that ice hockey being Russia’s national sport, playing it will gain sympathy points just as in case of Germans who happen to love soccer.
23. He loves adventures quite a lot. No wonder in 2013, he went 200 feet underwater (of course in a submersible) in the Gulf of Finland to pay a 140 years old shipwreck a visit.
24. He is good at fishing too! In 2013 again, he was on a fishing trip to Siberia where he managed to catch a 46-pound pike, making it one of the biggest catches in the world. Some anglers however say that the fish was probably half the weight that was claimed.
25. For the sake of science, he uses crossbows to shoot whales. What’s that? In 2010 he and his marine biologist friends were kind of hanging out in the ocean when they spotted a gray whale. The scientists wanted to take skin samples so that they could study the species properly. Putin decided to immobilize the whale for some time and shot it with a crossbow. It took him only the fourth try to hit the whale.
Vladimir Putin Facts: 26-30
26. For publicity or whatever, Putin likes photo ops. In 2010, he was captured on camera putting a satellite tracking device to the neck of a polar bear. That was in Russia’s far north and was merely assisting in research on polar bears.
27. He even met Mongol in 2010. Who is that? Mongol is the name of a snow leopard. It is blamed that Mongol was held captive for 5 days in a location that was 100 miles away from its natural habitat only to make sure that Putin could come and visit him (and of course, be photographed). Now, Putin actually oversees a number of research programs on various mammals that include polar bear and beluga whale and as well as wild cats. Putin symbolically released Mongol.
28. Kremlin Youth Camp received a visit from Putin in 2012. Putin did a number of things there including scaling a climbing wall and participating in arm wrestling. He did something else too! He attempted bending a frying pan using his bare hands! It is not very clear whether he succeeded in doing so or not.
29. You know about F1 racing cars right? Putin took one out on the tracks of St. Petersburg in 2010. It was a brand new car from Renault. Nothing really happened, except that he rolled the car for hours hitting the speed of 150 miles an hour. It was a test drive and he wore a helmet that boasted the images of a double-headed eagle (Russian symbol) and Russian Flag.
30. Enough of his macho side. Here is more of his actual abilities – he becomes nervous when it comes to speaking English, but he is perfect when it comes to speaking German.
Vladimir Putin Facts: 31-35
31. After Putin resigned from the KGB, he joined politics at St. Petersburg. In 1996, however, he moved to Moscow. Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin as deputy head of management in 1998.
32. Shortly after that, Yeltsin appointed Putin as Federal Security head (Federal Security was an arm of the former KGB). Putin also became head of the Security Council of Yeltsin.
33. In August 1999 when Yeltsin dismissed Sergey Stapashin (the then Prime Minister) and his entire cabinet, Putin was promoted to the position of Prime Minister.
34. In December when Yeltsin resigned from the post of President, Putin was appointed as acting President until the next formal elections scheduled for March 2000.
35. In 2000 he won the Presidential election and then won it again in 2004. Because of term limits mandate, it was not possible for Putin to run for a third term as President. He ensured that Dmitry Medvedev, his protégé became the President and Putin became the Prime Minister again. Putin again ran for Presidential post in 2012 and won it.
Vladimir Putin Facts: 36-40
36. During his first Presidential term, Russian economy grew steadily for 8 years straight (remember he was President for 8 consecutive years). GDP of Russia grew by 72% (measured in terms of purchasing power).
37. Putin was named as Person of the Year by Time Magazine in 2007.
38. For three consecutive years (2013-2015), Forbes put him in #1 position on the list of Most Powerful People in the world.
39. Time Magazine, in 2015, put Putin in #1 spot on the list of Most Influential People in the world.
40. Putin had two elder brothers. Their names were Albert and Victor. Albert died during infancy. Victor survived only to die of diphtheria during the Siege of Leningrad.