Putin Re-elected to Historic Third Term as President

Posted March 4th, 2012 at 12:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Vladimir Putin is set to return to the Russian presidency for a third term after taking a four-year break to serve as prime minister, a position where many said he retained the real power.

Mr. Putin served as president from 2000 through 2008, a time in which he is credited with making the country and its economy more stable. However, due to constitutionally mandated term limits barring him from serving a consecutive third term, he was appointed prime minister under his successor and longtime ally, Dmitry Medvedev.

During his time in office, the 59-year-old Mr. Putin is seen as one of Russia's most popular politicians due to his tough handling of Russia's campaign against separatist rebels in the breakaway republic of Chechnya.

However, opposition leaders have chided his strong leadership for curbing democratic reforms and failing to tackle widespread corruption.

He began his career as a former KGB spy who spent 15 years in foreign intelligence, mostly in East Germany, before going on to serve as director of Russia's Federal Security Services.

In August 1999, he was appointed to the post of prime minister by then-president Boris Yeltsin.

In December 1999, Mr. Putin became acting president after Mr. Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned from office. Mr. Putin went on to win the 2000 presidential election after receiving 53 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2004 for a second term after receiving a landslide majority of 71 percent.