Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Following the establishment of the "power vertical" system, the institute of plenipotentiary representatives of the President of the Russian Federation in federal districts was introduced by a Presidential Decree of May 13, 2000 (with the number of plenipotentiaries corresponding to the number of federal districts in the Russian Federation). In September 2004, the election of governors was temporarily scrapped (reintroduced in 2012) in order to improve the governability of the regions in the context of building the "power vertical".
The pro-presidential United Russia party was formed in 2001 and won the majority of seats in the State Duma during the 2003 elections. Also during this period of his presidency, Putin paid much attention to combating separatism in the regions and terrorism (notably, counter-terrorism operation in the North Caucasus held from August 7, 1999, to April 16, 2009).
In 2006, the concept of “sovereign democracy” was introduced. The Deputy Chief of the Presidential Administration described it as follows: “Our Russian model of democracy is called a 'sovereign democracy'. We are building an open society while remembering that we are free... We want to be an open nation among other open nations and to cooperate with them under fair rules, instead of being governed from the outside”.
Vladimir Putin actively promotes the implementation of measures to develop the agro-industrial complex and is working to support teachers, servicemen, and health workers. On January 1, 2004, the Stabilization Fund of the Russian Federation was established in order to balance the federal budget in case if oil prices drop below the base price. The Fund contributes to the stability of the country's economic development, serves as one of the main tools for dealing with excess liquidity, and reduces inflationary pressure and the dependence of the national economy on adverse fluctuations in revenues from resource-based commodity exports.
On the day of assuming the office of the President of the Russian Federation for the third time in 2012, Vladimir Putin signed the so-called "May decrees" — 11 decrees aimed at dealing with the most important social problems: improving housing conditions, including those of large families and people living in unsafe buildings; increasing the salaries of state employees while improving the quality of medical, educational and social services; improving the work of public authorities and organizations providing municipal and state services. The decrees also provided for the development of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, ensuring inter-ethnic harmony and implementation of demographic policy.
In June 2000, Vladimir Putin approved the “Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation” by issuing a presidential decree. This document declared the following as objectives of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation: ensure the reliable security of Russia, participate in global geopolitical processes in order to form the equitable, stable and democratic world order, create a belt of good-neighbourliness along Russian national borders, protect the interests and rights of Russian citizens abroad, promote the positive perception of Russia in the world, etc.
In 2000–2007, Vladimir Putin took part in the G8 summits. Due to the reunification of Crimea with Russia as a result of the people's referendum in Crimea in early 2014, Western countries decided to return to the G7 format, without Russia's participation.
In 2004, Putin enabled the process of demarcation of the disputed Russian-Chinese border along the centre of the Amur River. During his visit to China, Vladimir Putin laid the foundation for further fruitful cooperation between the countries.
On 10 February 2007, Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the Munich Security Conference. This speech caused a wide resonance in Western and Russian political circles. The key points of the statement were as follows:
The existing unipolar model of the world order (the situation where the USA imposes its policy on the majority of the states in the world) is inadmissible in modern international relations.
Any military intervention should be decided by the United Nations alone.
The USA pursues overly aggressive foreign policy.
NATO does not respect international agreements and continues to expand to the East while assuring the contrary.
The OSCE is not a guarantor of security in Europe anymore and has been transformed into a suitable instrument for NATO.
Russia will pursue its foreign policy based solely on its own interests, as it did a thousand years ago.
Despite Russia's protests, it was not possible to suspend American plans to deploy missile defence (ABM) near Russia's borders in subsequent years. As a response, at the end of the winter of 2012, preparations began in the Kaliningrad region for the deployment of 9K720 Iskander missile systems equipped with short-range ballistic missiles. Also, Russia-United States relations were negatively influenced by the invasion of Iraq by US troops in 2003, and the military intervention of Western countries in Libya, authorized by the UN Security Council in March 2011.
From 2001 to 2014, the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) existed in the post-Soviet space, which was an international economic organization intended to effectively promote the establishment of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space by its members, as well as to carry out other tasks aimed at deeper integration in the economic and humanitarian fields. EurAsEC included Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (from 2006 to 2008). EurAsEC was abolished due to the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), designed to further deepen the integration of member states in the economic and humanitarian areas.
From 2008 to 2010, Russia experienced a financial and economic recession, which was part of the global financial crisis. During this period, Vladimir Putin held the office of Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and since 2009 he began to advocate for closer economic integration with the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Kazakhstan. As a result, the Eurasian Customs Union was founded by Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, and it became the basis for the establishment of the Eurasian Union (EAU), with Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia being its member states in 2015.
In 1998, Russia became a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), seeking to participate in integration projects of the Asia-Pacific region (APR), in which the Far East and Siberia play a special role. First of all, Russia is interested in the transport and energy sectors. Since 1999, the President of the Russian Federation has regularly participated in APEC annual summits. Also, representatives of Russian Government agencies take part in sectoral ministerial meetings (regarding trade, investment, finance, energy, small and medium enterprises, transport, science and technology, fisheries, agriculture, etc.) and meetings of relevant APEC bodies. In 2012, Russia hosted the APEC summit and also chaired it for the first time. The chairmanship resulted in:
Facilitation of trade and investment, regional economic integration.
Enhancing food security.
Formation of reliable transport and logistics chains.
Intensive cooperation promoting innovative growth.
As of 2016, Russia, within its work in APEC, took part in the preparation of three chapters of the study on the formation of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). This participation resulted in recognition of the need to cooperate in the formation of FTAAP with regional economic blocs, such as the EAEU, ASEAN and the Pacific Alliance; inclusion of issues of transparency, electronic commerce and public procurement into the third chapter; recognition of the EAEU as a regional integration association being one of the sources of best practices for the formation of FTAAP.
In 2016, APEC economies reaffirmed their willingness to promote and support the multilateral trading system. A key challenge in this regard is the swift ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) by all APEC member economies. Russia also ratified the Agreement (becoming the 13th APEC economy and the 77th WTO member to ratify the Agreement). In 2016, Russia proposed the concept of the "Electronic Economy" (E-Economy), reflecting Russia's strategic interests and balancing between the opposite concepts of the Digital Economy introduced by the United States and China.
From Russia's point of view, the range of fields requiring APEC economies to develop joint solutions includes the regulation of the use of electronic data assets, and in particular the classified information protection measures, the creation of a legal and administrative framework for enhancing the cross-border economic cooperation in the field of electronic trading of goods and services, and the adoption of measures to build public trust in electronic space. As of the end of 2016, Russia reduced the duties for all (except one) commodity items from the list of environmental goods to 5% or lower.
At the initiative of Russia, the APEC Best Award contest among women entrepreneurs was successfully held as part of the Women and the Economy forum. One of the most important achievements of Russia as part of its work in APEC is the 2016 APEC conference on cooperation in the field of higher education in the Asia-Pacific region, which was held in Vladivostok in the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) for the fifth time. The same year, Russia proposed the establishment of an APEC Scientific Task Force on Natural Disasters. In 2016, the APEC economies continued their efforts to implement the roadmap for the Healthy Asia Pacific 2020 initiative. Russia participated in the development of both the initiative and the roadmap for its implementation and supported APEC economies' projects aimed at ensuring equal access to health care for the population, as well as prevention and control of infectious diseases, including issues of antimicrobial resistance and drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis.
In 2016, Russia launched an initiative in APEC to develop cooperation in the field of public procurement, and as a result, the following areas of possible collaboration were defined:
Use of modern digital technologies in procurement.
Anti-corruption measures, as well as control and supervision mechanisms in the field of public procurement regulations.
Procurement process arrangement: identification of new methods and procedures.
Risk management at all stages of the procurement cycle.
The year 2017 became extremely fruitful for Russia's work in APEC. The APEC economies have approved Russian initiatives for the development of remote areas and cooperation in the field of innovation. In addition, Russian officials actively participated in the discussion of key issues for APEC, such as the development of the digital economy and e-commerce, the formation of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific and the post-2020 forum agenda. Other areas of Russia's work in APEC, such as the development of human resources, the increase in women's economic activity, and the improvement of the competitive environment in the field of public procurement have also remained important.
Finally, in 2017, four Russian projects received funding from APEC, which is the largest figure in the past few years. Those include:
The project of the Ministry of Communications of Russia to create a system for monitoring earthquakes and floods based on the use of the Internet of Things.
The project of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia to support leading high-tech companies.
The project of Rospatent for the commercialization of intellectual property for SMEs.
The project of Rosturizm for enhancing the prospects of sustainable development of tourism in the remote territories of APEC countries.
As part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia, Russia regularly participates in joint exercises of special units of CSTO member countries. (The goals of CSTO are to strengthen peace, international and regional security and stability, as well as collectively protect the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of its Member States through political means as the priority). In 2005, the CSTO Coordinating Council of Heads of Competent Authorities to Combat Drug Trafficking (CCCDT) was established. There are three working groups functioning under the Council, which cover the coordination of intelligence activities, the exchange of information resources and staff training.
On 16 November 2006, the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly, intended to serve as an inter-parliamentary cooperation body of the Organization, was established in St. Petersburg on the basis of CIS IPA. In November 2016, during the 18th meeting of CSTO CCCDT, the State Secretary, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Russia, Igor Nikolaevich Zubov was elected Chairman of the Coordinating Council. Since 2 December 2004, the Organization has the status of observer in the UN General Assembly.
On 18 March 2010, a joint declaration on cooperation between the secretariats of the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was signed in Moscow, which provides for building cooperation between these two organizations, in particular in the field of peacekeeping. The CSTO Secretariat and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations signed a Memorandum of Understanding in New York on September 28, 2012. During the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in November 2016, a resolution was adopted on cooperation between the UN and CSTO, which considers the CSTO as an organization capable of providing an adequate response to a wide range of challenges and threats in its area of responsibility. Productive contacts are maintained with other UN bodies, including the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UN Security Council and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. In October 2007, the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the CSTO were formed.
The Enduring Brotherhood exercises are regularly conducted to develop the skills and capacity for effective peacekeeping operations. The due exercises, tasked with "Preparation and conduct of a peacekeeping operation by the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the CSTO in the Central Asian region of collective security", were held on October 14–20, 2017 in Kazakhstan.
In the area of military and technical cooperation, mechanisms for the supply of arms and special equipment to allies and the provision of military and technical assistance to the CSTO Member States are being improved. Joint training of military personnel has been organized. The CSTO Interstate Commission on Military and Economic Cooperation operates since 2006. In December 2014, it was decided to appoint the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Olegovich Rogozin as the head of the Commission.
As a result of Canal Volga Frontier subregional anti-drug operation carried out from 9 to 13 October 2017 by the internal affairs and anti-drug agencies (units) of the CSTO Member States with the international coordination headquarters based at the Internal Affairs Office for the Saratov oblast (in Saratov city), more than 4 tons of narcotic drugs were withdrawn from illegal trafficking, including about 2 tons of opium, more than 1 ton of hashish, more than 480 kg of marijuana, about 200 kg of heroin and 17 kg of synthetic narcotic drugs. About 500 drug-related crimes were identified, and about 4 thousand criminal cases were brought to court. 93 units of firearms, about 2 thousand units of ammunition and material values worth more than 104 thousand US dollars were seized.
From 12 to 15 September 2017, Russia held regular exercises of special units of anti-drug services of the CSTO Member States called "Thunder-2017", with the task of "Conducting joint campaigns (operations) to suppress the activities of transnational armed criminal groups (organizations), block the channels for drugs, weapons and explosives smuggling to the territory of one of the CSTO Member States".
In general, we can admit the existence of specific mutually privileged regimes of multilateral cooperation in the post-Soviet space. Some of these regimes were inherited from the Soviet period, and some were created specifically for the new realities.
Due to the coup d 'état in Ukraine in February 2014, which was supported by the United States and its allies and declaimed by Russia, and the subsequent reunification of Crimea with the Russian Federation, as well as the internal conflict in Ukraine, the United States and other NATO countries decided to employ a sanctions policy against Russia. Russia, in turn, resorted to retaliatory sanctions.
On October 24, 2014, Vladimir Putin spoke at a meeting with journalists, political experts and participants of the Valdai discussion club. According to political analysts, this policy statement made by President Putin is as important as the 2007 Munich speech. The essence of the statement was reduced to accusing the West of fomenting war in Ukraine, which essentially resulted from the coup d 'état sponsored by Western countries. Putin also outlined the responsibility of the US administration for the collapse of the global security system and dictatorial policy on the international scene.
The current white-blue-red flag (tricolour) with height to width ratio of 2:3, previously determined by the decree of B. N. Yeltsin “On the State Flag of the Russian Federation” in 1993, was approved by the Federal Constitutional Law “On the State Flag of the Russian Federation” (No. 1-FKZ of December 25, 2000, published and entered into force on December 27, 2000).
The current state emblem (a golden two-headed eagle on a red shield, crowned by three crowns, with a sceptre and an orb in its paws, and with a red shield on its chest, depicting a horseman slaying a serpent with a spear), initially constituted by the decree of B. N. Yeltsin in 1993, was approved by the federal constitutional law “On the State Emblem of the Russian Federation” (No. 2-FKZ of 25 December 2000, published and entered into force on December 27, 2000).
The state anthem with music composed by Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov (former anthem of the USSR) was approved by the Federal Constitutional Law “On the State Anthem of the Russian Federation” (No. 3-FKZ as of December 25, 2000, published and entered into force on December 27, 2000). The text of the anthem, written by Sergey Mikhalkov, was approved by the decree of the President of the Russian Federation as of December 30, 2000, and shall be included in the wording of the law in the future.
Russia's anti-corruption system was extensively reformed. In order to combat corruption in Russia, the Anti-Corruption Council under the President was established in 2003. As the priorities in combating corruption, Putin noted the need to establish an ongoing and systematic anti-corruption examination of the legislation, extensive analysis of the activities of federal, regional and local authorities, improvement of the state and municipal apparatus, strict regulation of the rights and duties of officials and the development of effective forms of public control over state and municipal authorities. In 2006, Russia became a member of the Group of States against Corruption, which implied, among other things, criminal liability for corruption. In 2012, President Putin signed a law obliging state officials to report their income. In 2013, the State Duma of the Russian Federation adopted a law introduced by the President, which prohibits officials, deputies, judges and the staff of law enforcement agencies to have bank accounts and financial assets abroad. Their real estate property located abroad must be declared.
Also, Vladimir Putin initiated a judicial reform and signed the laws "On the Status of Judges in the Russian Federation", "On the Judicial System of the Russian Federation", "On the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation", "On Advocacy and the Bar in the Russian Federation"; in 2001, a new Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation, and in 2002 – the Arbitration Procedure Code of the Russian Federation and the Civil Procedure Code of the Russian Federation were signed; in 2007, a law was signed on the establishment of an Investigative Committee under the Prosecutor's Office, which was subsequently transformed into an independent federal agency.
In the field of economics, tax reform was carried out in the 2000s, which included, in particular, the reduction of the tax burden for enterprises, increasing the importance of extractive industries as a source of tax revenues, simplification of the taxation of small businesses, improvement of tax administration. In May 2003, the President signed the Customs Code of the Russian Federation, based, inter alia, on a balance of interests of the business community and the State; in 2002, a pension reform was launched, and in 2009 Putin expressed the hope that this reform would eliminate the need to increase the retirement age in Russia; in the 2000s, a reform of social benefits system, known as the monetization of social benefits, was carried out; in 2001, Putin signed the Land Code of the Russian Federation, which recognizes land and everything on it as a single whole that can only be privatized together; in the early 2000s, the system of military and technical cooperation (MTC) was reformed, and the post of Deputy Prime Minister responsible for MTC issues was introduced; various financial reforms were carried out, as well as reforms in the field of the electric power industry, housing and communal services, railway transport, the military-industrial complex and nuclear energy industry.
As part of reforming the law enforcement agencies of Russia, the following activities were carried out:
Reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs with the introduction of such key concepts as "trust of the population" and "prevention". It resulted in numerous staff and structural changes. The criteria for assessing the performance of officers were tightened; the most complete recording of committed crimes was introduced; firefighting functions were transferred from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the Ministry of Emergency Situations; the Ministry of Internal Affairs received the functions for supervising migration issues, as well as the functions of the tax police. During the presidency of Dmitriy Medvedev, the reforming of the Ministry of Internal Affairs continued. In particular, the law "On Police" was adopted, which provided for the renaming of the service (the former "militia" became the "police") and the strengthening of public control over its work. In the further implementation of this Law, the system of social security for police officers and their families was improved, the competitive selection of candidates for certain posts became mandatory and other changes were introduced.
Under the reform of special services the state border control was transferred to the FSB, the Federal Tax Police Service and the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information were eliminated as separate structures. The material assets of the FSNP were transferred to the new State Committee to Combat Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
Military reform: a housing program for members of the armed forces is being implemented, the term of conscription service was reduced and the proportion of contract soldiers increased, the size of the army was reduced and military administration was fundamentally reorganized, a three-tiered management system was introduced, the officer corps was optimized, some duplicative functions were removed from the General Staff, the role of the command staff of services and branches of troops had significantly decreased, with many functions transferred to the level of military districts; combat effectiveness was increased with massive re-equipment of the army, military exercises are regularly held — and all this in the context of the expansion of NATO and the aggressive policy of the Western countries.
The administrative reform carried out in the 2000s included reforming the structure of the executive branch and the functions of State bodies; the establishment of a system for the effective performance of public functions to ensure high rates of economic growth and social development; the delimitation of powers and responsibilities between municipal, regional and federal authorities; the restriction of State interference in the economic activities of business entities, etc.
In the 2000s, the electoral system in Russia was reformed. The essence of the reform was to facilitate the formation of large nationwide parties and prevent small parties and self-nominated candidates with limited popularity from entering parliament (that is, to move from a single-member to a proportional electoral system). Territorial representation in the State Duma was abolished and deputies could only be elected according to party lists, but in 2014 the mixed system of elections to the State Duma was restored.
In August 2001, Vladimir Putin approved the Concept of Reforming the Public Service System of the Russian Federation, which defined the parameters of the public service reform in Russia and laid the foundations for the creation of a relevant legislative framework and the improvement of the activities of state bodies.
On September 9, 2005, at the first meeting of the autumn session of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin announced a list of priority national projects: "Health", "Education", "Housing", and "Development of agro-industrial complex". The titles of the priority national projects reflect the priority areas of the “investment in people”.
On 29 May 2013, the title of Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation was established, which is the highest degree of distinction for special labour achievements for the benefit of the state and the people.
Results of Vladimir Putin's Work
Global positive changes in domestic and foreign policy occurred during the first eight years of Putin's presidency. The majority of the population repeatedly manifested sympathy and trust in the president, as well as in his political line, and reaffirmed this trust in the last presidential election in March 2018.
The key outcome of this period is securing the stability of the country's economy, taking into account its state by the time Putin took office as the President of the Russian Federation in 2000. A significant amount of foreign exchange reserves was accumulated, the Stabilization Fund was established, and a number of declining sectors of the economy began to develop. The agricultural sector and the food industry are being strengthened and developed, the dependence on the import of food products has been significantly reduced. Russia became the world leader in grain export. In general, there is a positive dynamics in the movement towards the food independence of Russia in key product positions. The shadow economy is being gradually pulled out to legal space.
Unemployment and poverty have reduced (in the late 1990s, almost one-third of the population had incomes below the subsistence level, the current rate is at about half of that level). Salaries of state employees have been significantly increased. In general, a prudent budgetary policy is pursued. There was a significant decrease in the inflation rate (22.2% in 2000 against 2.5% at the end of 2017). In 2016, the public debt decreased 22.7-fold compared to 2000. In 2017, Russia got out of a two-year recession, with GDP growth of 1.6% in the first ten months.
During Vladimir Putin's presidency, the crime rate in the territory of the Russian Federation has significantly decreased. The groundwork was laid for intensifying the efforts in the field of social policy. The mortality rate in relation to the birth rate significantly reduced.
A vertical power system was established. The level of the terrorist threat, which had been a major problem and the most painful topic of the late 1990s and early 2000s, was greatly reduced. All manifestations of separatism and nationalism, which previously seriously threatened the national unity and integrity of the country, are being blocked.
The IT sector is being developed owing to the Russian fundamental science and technical expertise, active growth of the domestic market and achievements of Russian companies in foreign markets, as well as a high level of development of the necessary infrastructure.
The big business players, now equally distant from the Kremlin and the media, began to work within the Russian legislation and tax policy, which allows for maintaining political stability and predictability, as well as the balance of interests, unlike the situation in the 1990s.
In 2014, the XXII Olympic Winter Games were held in Russian Sochi. These were the second Olympic Games that Russia hosted in its history (the first were Summer Games held in 1980). Several hundred sports venues were prepared for the Olympic Games in Sochi, most of which are infrastructure facilities that enable to develop the city as a year-round resort.
When the events in Ukraine (coup d 'état and the subsequent civil war) directly threatened the people of Crimea in 2014, a referendum was held there on 16 March 2014, during which 96% of residents of the Crimean Peninsula voted for reunification with Russia in order to prevent the worst-case scenario. On March 18, in the St. George hall of the Kremlin, the President of the Russian Federation appealed to both chambers of the Federal Assembly to consider the Constitutional Law on the admission of two new entities to the Russian Federation — the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. The treaty incorporating Crimea into Russia was signed immediately after Putin's speech. This event occurred directly as a result of the coup d 'état in Ukraine.
For two years since 2015, Russia had been conducting a successful military operation in the Syrian Arab Republic on the side of government forces and pro-government militias during the civil war. This campaign was started in response to the official request for military assistance from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Thanks to the support of Russia, as well as the courage and heroism of the Russian soldiers, the territorial expansion of terrorist groups was stopped in Syria, and huge damage was done to their infrastructure, economic base, manpower and equipment.
The defence capability of Russia was strengthened, the army was reequipped, its quality and the level of training of troops were substantially increased. Modernization of the army and the development of new weapon systems continue, and military exercises are regularly held.
An important aspect of Putin's presidency was the development of a 2030 space programme.
In August 2017, Russia repaid the last foreign debt of the USSR. In 1994, the Russian foreign debt stood at $104.507 bln.
The image of Russia abroad keeps improving and foreign policy has become more rigorous and definite.
Vladimir Putin was born in Leningrad. As he recalls, “I come from an ordinary family, and this is how I lived for a long time, nearly my whole life. I lived as an average, normal person and I have always maintained that connection.” Putin's mother, Maria Ivanovna Shelomova, being a soft-hearted and friendly person, didn't approve her son's judo training until the moment his trainer told his parents about the achievements of the young athlete. Putin's father, Vladimir Spiridonovich, was a Great Patriotic War veteran. The school teacher of Vladimir Vladimirovich remembered that he had a brilliant memory and a flexible mind. In his sixth grade, Putin became the head of the council of the pioneer detachment.
In 1975, Vladimir Putin graduated from the Faculty of Law of Leningrad State University, and then Moscow Higher School of the KGB No.1. For several years, Vladimir Putin worked in the First Chief Directorate of the KGB of the USSR, responsible for foreign intelligence. In 1985–1990, after having received special training, Vladimir Vladimirovich worked in the German Democratic Republic. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and in 1989 was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal of the National People's Army of the GDR.
After returning to Leningrad in 1990, Vladimir Putin worked as an assistant to the rector of the Leningrad State University in the International Affairs department, then became an adviser to the chairman of the Leningrad City Council, and since June 1991 he worked as chairman of the St. Petersburg City Council's International Relations Committee and at the same time (since 1994) — as the First Deputy Chairman of the Government of St. Petersburg. Shortly after starting his work in the Leningrad Mayor's Office, Putin resigned from the KGB.
In 1997, after moving with his family to Moscow in 1996, he became Deputy Head of the Executive Office of the President of the Russian Federation (Presidential Administration) and Head of the Central Supervision and Inspections Directorate. In the same year, Vladimir Vladimirovich defended the candidate's thesis on economics. In July 1998, Putin was appointed to the post of director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, which he combined (since March 1999) with the post of Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. In August 1999, Vladimir Vladimirovich was appointed to the post of Prime Minister of the Russian Federation following the proposal of President Yeltsin. Later, Putin recalled that he perceived the work in this position as honorary and interesting. On December 31, 1999, again after the proposal of President Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin assumed the duties of Acting President of the Russian Federation.
After he was elected President of the Russian Federation on March 26, 2000, Vladimir Putin said: "We have common aims, we want our Russia to be a free, prosperous, strong and civilized country, a country that its citizens are proud of and that is respected internationally." In a matter of fact, today Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin keeps leading the country towards these goals.