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Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (born October 7, 1952), is the current President of Russia.

Putin was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).

He was a KGB officer from 1975 to 1991 and head of the FSB (the KGB's successor} from July 1998 to August 1999. He was Prime Minister in Boris Yeltsin's government from August 1999. On December 31, 1999, Yeltsin resigned, and made Putin the second (acting) President of the Russian Federation. Proper Presidential elections were held on March 26, 2000, which Putin won.

Unlike his predecessor, President Putin has been less enthusiastic about erasing Russia's Soviet past from memory. He has stated his belief that whatever the crimes of the Communist regime, it was neverless an important part of Russian history, and an important influence on the creation of modern Russian society. As a result, some Soviet era symbols have been allowed to return to Russia, such as the trademark red military flag, the "Soviet Star" crest, and the Soviet national anthem (although with revised lyrics).

Putin was against the war in Iraq during the Iraq crisis of 2003. After the war ended with American victory, American president George W. Bush asked the United Nations for the lifting of sanctions on Iraq. Putin was against the lifting of the sanctions, arguing that first weapons of mass destruction should be destroyed.

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