Here are key dates in the life of the 65-year-old former KGB officer:
- October 7, 1952: Putin is born into a poor working-class family in Leningrad, now called Saint Petersburg.
- 1998: He is named head of the FSB security service, the successor to the KGB, having joined the service in 1975.
- 1999: As Boris Yeltsin's prime minister, he oversees the launch of a second war to crush rebels in Chechnya. When Yeltsin resigns on New Year's Eve, Putin takes over as president, being officially elected in March 2000.
- 2004: He is re-elected president.
- 2008: In line with a constitutional limit, at the end of his second term Putin hands power to his protege Dmitry Medvedev and becomes prime minister.
- 2012: He returns as president, for a term which has been extended from four to six years, amid unprecedented opposition protests.
- 2013: After three decades of marriage, he divorces Lyudmila with whom he has two daughters.
- 2014: He annexes the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, sparking the worst diplomatic crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War.
- 2015: Gives military backing to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
- 2017: In December, he announces he will seek a new six-year term as president in March 2018.
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