Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has been serving as President of Russia since 2012.
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, before he returned to Russia entering politics in his native Saint Petersburg in 1991.
The Russian Orthodox Church has downgraded "diplomatic relations" with Istanbul-based Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Bartholomew I has been accused of "anti-canonical activities" for sending bishops to Ukraine.
Syria's northwestern Idlib region — crammed with civilians and rebels close to Turkey — needs Russia's "moderating manner," Chancellor Angela Merkel has told US President Donald Trump, according to her spokesman.