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.
Russia has launched airstrikes in Syria, deepening the Kremlin's role in the Syrian conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was necessary to fight the Islamic State by attacking it in territories it occupies. But there are growing concerns Russia's military maneuvers are less about fighting terrorism and more about bolstering its long time ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is expected to use his speech to the UN to draw attention to the situation in his country, while most of the world's attention has been on Syria. Talks between the US and Russia have raised hopes of ending the diplomatic stalemate.