KGB spy in Germany
The 69-year-old is the son of a working-class family from St. Petersburg (then Leningrad). After studying law, he became an agent in the KGB’s foreign espionage department in 1975. From 1985 he was deployed to the GDR, where he is learning German fluently.
Putin’s political foster father is Anatoly Sobchak, his former university professor. He becomes mayor of St. Petersburg in 1991 and makes Putin first his adviser and later vice mayor.
Boris Yeltsin made Putin, who had meanwhile risen to the position of director of the domestic intelligence service FSB, prime minister in 1999. When Yeltsin resigns from office, Putin takes over as president and wins his first election in 2000. It was to remain so to this day – only interrupted by a brief power rogue with his prime minister Dmitry Medvedev.