Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Russian: Владимир Владимирович Путин) (born October 7, 1952) was reelected president of the Russian Federation in 2012, after serving as prime minister since May 8, 2008, and previously serving as president since December 31, 1999, the day Boris Yeltsin resigned from the presidency. Putin governs a nation that is rapidly becoming more Christian and more conservative, and his snubbing of liberal Obama in May 2012 suggests that Putin is well aware of how conservative his country is becoming. Putin has been complimentary of Donald Trump, and it appears they will work well together to defeat ISIS. Forbes ranked Putin as the most powerful man in the world as of December 2016, while Obama was ranked #48.
In terms of achievements, Putin has successfully opposed the homosexual agenda and has supported pro-life reforms. He has also stabilized the Russian economy and restored Russia's national pride, largely by politically exploiting the financial windfall of Europe's need for Russian oil and gas. Russians were enthusiastic that he ended the social chaos that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent pell-mell privatization of the state-owned economy. Many Russians have been mesmerized by the new glitter of Moscow and the restored glamour of St. Petersburg.
Putin was born in Leningrad on October 7, 1952 and was baptized as an Orthodox Christian and continue to be a member to this day. Putin was a judo champion in his youth. He was educated in law and economics at Leningrad State University before being assigned to work in the KGB. After five years in East Germany, he took up various political positions before becoming prime minister in 1999.
He was married to Lyudmila Putina since July 28, 1983 (former airline stewardess). They divorced in 2014. They have two daughters.
Putin is mainly backed by the United Russia (Единая Россия) party, which currently holds a majority in the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, known as the Duma. The party usually reflects the political views of Putin, which are that of moderate conservatism and nationalism. On March 14, 2004, he was elected to a second term as president with 71% of the vote. Barred from a third consecutive term by the Russian constitution, Putin ceded the presidency to Dmitry Medvedev on May 7, 2008 and became Prime Minister, at the time sharing power with the more moderate Medvedev. Medvedev did not run for a second term, and, as a result, Putin was re-elected in 2012.
Escalating tensions in the Obama era
Putin is seen as an antagonist by liberals in the West, who are angry about their inability to push the homosexual agenda and pro-abortion policies on Russia. Putin views NATO enlargement by absorbing former Soviet client states as a potential threat to the Russian Federation. Putin has proposed a policy of "Findlandization", i.e., making permanently neutral the Ukraine and Georgia and not incorporating them into NATO under the US's Partner's for Peace program. Putin's alleged rigged election system, nuclear energy contracts and military alliance with Iran have heightened tensions. According to Liberal media the decline of human rights in Russia has been dramatic; for example, Russian riot police beat a number of protesters and journalists at an anti-Putin rally at Pushkin Square in Moscow, and Putin rigged national elections for his party 
Putin has even exercised power over the Russian supreme court. Justice Vladimir Yaroslavtsev was forced to resign after warning that Russian security agencies now control the country as they did in Soviet times and expressing alarm over their lack of accountability. Justice Anatoly Kononov was likewise forced out after defending Yaroslavtsev.
Putin is popular in Russia. Since coming to power, Putin has expanded Russia's economy and reduced inflation. The majority of Russians are relatively uninterested in politics outside of issues affecting their personal prosperity, and journalist Anna Politkovskaya argued that the Russian people, as a whole, have been willing to tolerate violence in the name of "comfort and peace and quiet".
Relations with U.S.
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton initially cozied up to Putin, charging the Bush administration was intent on re-igniting the Cold War. However once the Rosatom-Uranium One deal was completed and the Clinton Foundation pocketed millions of dollars from Putin cronies in donations and speaking fees, relations soured as the Obama administration could no longer ignore geopolitical realities.
President Obama's decision to move an antimissile defense system to Romania during the 2016 US Presidential election only heightened tension. Putin, who had repeatedly assailed the antimissile system as a grave danger to Russia's security, called Obama's decision dangerous. This coupled with Obama's implementation of sanctions rather than living up to the empty promises of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances negotiated by the Clinton administration, which were supposed to guarantee Ukrainian independance, only further heightened tensions.
In September 2013, Putin gave a speech stating the need to strengthen Russian culture with traditional values and the Orthodox Christian church. Also, he condemned Western nations and their godless pursuit of political correctness and homosexuality.
In early September 2013, Putin expressly observed that liberal John Kerry is a liar.
Relations with the EU
- Baker, Peter, and Susan Glasser. Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin's Russia and the End of Revolution (2nd ed. 2007); excerpt and text search
- Goldman, Marshall I. Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia (2008) excerpt and text search
- Lucas, Edward. The New Cold War: Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West (2009) excerpt and text search
- Stuermer, Michael. Putin and the Rise of Russia (2009)
- Wegren, Stephen K., and Dale R. Herspring, eds. After Putin's Russia: Past Imperfect, Future Uncertain (4th ed. 2009) excerpt and text search
- Putin, a Christian, was later elected president by 54% of the electorate on March 26, 2000.
- Webpage of Vladimir Putin
- The Economist, April 21, 2007
- Are You An Independent Russian Judge? You're Fired, RobertAmsterdam.com
- http://www.levada.ru/prezident.html Putin's Approval Ratings
- The Economist, April 21, 2007
- Politkovskaya, Anna. Putin's Russia. London: Harvill Press, 2004
- Putin urges Russians to return to values of religion, FT.com, September 19, 2013
- Donald Trump accuses Russia of taking Crimea by force in attempt to distance himself from campaign allegations