Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is serving a six year term as President of Russia since he was elected in 2012. He topped the 2013 Forbes list of most powerful people in the world.
Putin previously served as President from 2000 to 2008. He was Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. For 16 years Putin served as an officer in the secret service, KGB, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. . From 1985 to 1990, the KGB stationed Putin in Dresden, East Germany, returning to Russia then and entering politics in his native Saint Petersburg in 1991.
At the weekend, Russia held parliamentary elections in which President Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia dominated amid low voter turnout. Putin attributed the victory to Russians rejecting what he called "outside attempts to destabilize Russia" amid elections.Yet western governments say it is Russia that's interfering with the elections...through state sponsored cyber espionage.
Germany's Vice Chancellor has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin amidst tensions over the crisis in Syria. Gabriel wants to build bridges between Germany and Russia, despite controversy over his visit back home.