Monday, June 25, 2012

Putin: His Rise to Power

An article by one of Mat Rodina's contributors Wendy Redstone


Putin: His Rise to Power

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has led a life that puts most modern leaders to shame. He has cultivated a particular image about himself which includes his interest in the military, the outdoors, hunting and even jet plane flying. He is an equally loved and hated figure depending on who you talk to. In Russia, as of January 2012, he holds a 52% approval rating due to the stability Russia has seen during his leadership plus the country's fantastic economic improvements which have benefited a lot of the populace. In turn, more recently Russia has seen an increase in protests against his reign coupled with allegations of electoral fraud. Russia's decision to veto UN resolutions attempting to address the issue in Syria has brought him both derision and support. So how did the man who has been at the top of Russia's power structure since 1999 get there?

Putin was born in the city of Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg, on October 7, 1952. He was born into a modest family with his mother working as a factory worker and his father a conscript in the Soviet Navy. The member of the family the most closely related to politics was his paternal grandfather, Spiridon Ivanovich. He was a cook at times for both Lenin and Stalin and eventually was employed at a dacha owned by the Moscow City Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union where Putin would visit him. His time as a youth was generally uneventful, but it was during this time he began studying sambo and judo. Eventually Putin poured over academic text books at the Leningrad State University. He graduated with a PhD in international law. It was also during this time that he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Putin's next step was to join the KGB after graduating in 1975. He took on an array of different positions. He worked for the First Chief Directorate where he monitored foreigners and consular officials in Leningrad, he was stationed in Dresden up until the end of the East German government and then with the International Affairs department of the Leningrad State University. Here he monitored the student body and also tried to seek out suitable recruits. He stayed with the KGB up until the failed coup by hardline Communist Party members against Mikhail Gorbachev. He said his decision was because “As soon as the coup began, I immediately decided which side I was on”.
He then stepped into politics when he was appointed as an advisor to Mayor Sobchak of Saint Petersburg. He had a number of positions here including being the head of the Committee for External Relations and as first deputy head of the city administration. On top of that he led the Saint Petersburg branch of the Our Home Is Russia political party and was the head of the Advisory Board of the JSC newspaper Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti. For six years he served in Saint Petersburg in these various capacities until he eventually made the move to Moscow.

Putin now begun his steps to the top of the political ladder. After working for the Presidential Property Management Department he was made deputy chief of Presidential Staff and chief of the Main Control Directorate of the Presidential Property Management Department by the then President Boris Yeltsin. He held other various political positions until he was appointed head of the Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti. From here, Putin made quick leaps to becoming President. In 1999 he became one of three First Deputy Prime Minister, which meant he could then be made Prime Minister due to the sacking of Sergei Stepashin. Putin then declared his intention to run for President. Despite being a near unknown at first, he gained a lot of popularity due to his handling of the War in Dagestan and his approach to the crisis in the North Caucasus. On the 31st of December, Yeltsin removed himself from the presidency and, by following the constitution, Putin replaced him. Since then he has essentially run the country, even despite his presidency being interrupted by constitutional restrictions forcing him to take up the position of Prime Minister from 2008 – 2012.

With Putin now in his third term as President, despite growing internal dissent, he doesn't look to be going anywhere any time soon. He still has a strong grip on power and will continue to push through his ideas and visions he has for Russia. It will take protests of immense size to even being to shake his confidence.

1 comment:

jack said...

Putin is a mixed bag for every good thing he has done he as done an equally bad thing a 50/50 president.

Frankly I think Russia can do better that needs a real revolutionary out of the box thinker and a framework of a system that lets such individuals come to the forefront rather than connections to Putin and the ruling elite.