Vladimir Putin, by the Numbers


Born in 1952

Born on October 7, 1952 in Leningrad, Russia (modern day St. Petersburg), Putin was born into a family of workers.

He grew up in a communal apartment, sharing basic facilities with two other families. He hunted rats as a little boy. “We lived simply -- cabbage soup, cutlets, pancakes, but on Sundays and holidays my mom would bake very delicious stuffed buns [pirozhki] with cabbage, meat and rice, and curd tarts [vatrushki],” Putin said on his personal website.



At age 16

Fascinated by spy thrillers, Putin, at the age of 16, wanted to volunteer at the Leningrad KGB. Initially, he was told by a KGB officer to get a law degree if he wanted to be an intelligence officer. In 1970, he enrolled in Leningrad State University.

On his personal website, Putin said: “We had a class of 100 people, and only 10 of them entered immediately after high school, the rest had already completed military service. So for us, the high-school graduates, only one out of 40 was admitted. I got four out of five for the essay, but top marks for everything else, so I passed.”

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He may have plagiarized at least 16 pages of his thesis

In his fourth year at Leningrad State University, Putin was contacted by the KGB to discuss working for them. In 1976, he defended his doctoral thesis, called "Strategic Planning Of The Reproduction Of The Resource Base," even though researchers have accused Putin of plagiarism.

"I calculate that there are more than 16 pages worth of text taken verbatim from [a U.S. textbook called "Strategic Planning And Policy" by William King and David Cleland]," said Clifford Gaddy, an economist specializing in Russia.

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He helped Russia's economy grow for 8 straight years

Under Putin's presidency, Russia was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, experiencing growth for eight straight years with GDP increasing by 72 percent.

During that same period, Russia’s unemployment and inflation fell and the government paid off much of its foreign debt. He was elected to a third, non-consecutive presidential term under controversial circumstances.

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$40 Billion

According to one controversial political scientist, Putin may have as much as $40 billion in energy assets, which would make him the richest man in Europe.

The political scientists claim Putin has controlling stakes in three Russian energy companies. Russia’s economy is highly dependent on oil and gas exports.

Putin denies reports of his wealth, though he reportedly leads a luxurious lifestyle as president.

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Tons of perks as president

In a report sarcastically titled “The Life of a Galley Slave” -- a reference to what Putin once described his time as president -- Russian opposition leaders detail the lifestyle and perks that Putin enjoys.

Those perks include staying at one of 20 Russian palaces, usage of 15 helicopters, 4 spacious yachts, and 43 aircraft, watches in white gold, and a flying toilet supposedly worth $75,000.

The authors of the report contrast Putin’s lavish lifestyle with the nearly 20 million Russians who live below the poverty line.

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In tax reports released in 2013, it was revealed that Putin had an income of about $187,000 in 2012. The documents reveal that the president owns a plot of land, an apartment, and three cars. His ex-wife reportedly owns no property and has an income of less than $4,000.

Considering Putin’s lavish lifestyle, critics doubt the official figures. In comparison to Putin, U.S. President Barack Obama earns a salary of about $400,000.

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56th Birthday

In 2008, for his 56th birthday, he received a two-month-old endangered female Siberian tiger cub as a present. He has a labrador dog, Koni, which he sometimes brings to meetings.

Besides Koni, Putin also has an Akita-Inu named Yume and a Bulgarian shepherd named Buffy.

Aside from dogs, Putin has been known to meet with wild animals (sometimes as publicity stunts, such as in the photo above). There's even a Tumblr page dedicated to pictures of Putin with animals.

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He may have been engaged 3 times

Putin was engaged while studying at Leningrad State University. But he broke off the engagement, for unknown reasons, at the last minute.

Four years later, he married Lyudmila Shkrebneva. Last year, the couple announced  their divorce, with Putin saying, “We practically don’t see each other. Each one has his and her own life.”

He is now reportedly dating Alina Kabayeva, a former gold-medal-winning rhythmic gymnast from the 2004 Olympics. There are rumors that Kabayeva and Putin are engaged or already married.

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