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From assistant to the rector of Leningrad State University to Acting President

Leningrad – Moscow


After returning to Leningrad from Germany in 1990, Vladimir Putin became assistant to the rector of Leningrad State University in charge of international relations. In 1996, he and his family moved to Moscow, where his political career began.

Leningrad – St Petersburg

After returning to Leningrad from Dresden in 1990, Vladimir Putin found new job as assistant to the rector of Leningrad State University, in which position he was responsible for international relations. “I was happy to find work at Leningrad State University,” he later recalled. “I took the job hoping at the same time to write my Ph.D. thesis and, perhaps, stay on and work there afterwards.

That was how I ended up, in 1990, becoming assistant to the rector in charge of international relations.”

Soon he also became an adviser to the chairman of the Leningrad City Council

Starting in June 1991, Putin began work as Chairman of the Committee for International Relations at the St Petersburg City Hall, and from 1994, concurrently held the position of Deputy Chairman of the St Petersburg City Government.

After starting work at the City Hall, Putin sent in his resignation from the KGB.

Moscow. Prime Minister with prospects

In 1996, Vladimir Putin moved with his family to Moscow, where he was offered the post of Deputy Chief of the Presidential Property Management Directorate.

“I would not say that I did not like Moscow, but simply that I liked St Petersburg more. But Moscow was very obviously a European city,” Putin recalled

His career rise was rapid. In March 1997, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and Chief of Main Control Directorate. 

Busy with work as he was, he still found time to defend his doctoral thesis on economics at the St Petersburg State Mining Institute. In May 1998, Putin was made First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office, and in July 1998, he was appointed Director of the Federal Security Service. From March 1999, he also held the position of Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

In August 1999, Putin was appointed Prime Minister of the Russian Government. The post was offered to him by then President Boris Yeltsin.

As Putin later recalled, “Mr Yeltsin invited me to come and see him and said that he wanted to offer me the prime minister’s job. <…> Incidentally, he never used the word ‘successor’ in his conversation with me then, but spoke of becoming ‘prime minister with prospects’, and said that if all went well, he thought this could be possible”.

Putin described his time in the prime minister’s office as an honour and an interesting experience. “I thought then, if I can get through a year that will already be a good start. If I can do something to help save Russia from falling apart then this would be something to be proud of.”

Acting President of the Russian Federation

Shortly before the New Year of 2000 rolled in, President of Russia Boris Yeltsin proposed that Vladimir Putin become Acting President.

“Two or three weeks before New Year, Mr Yeltsin called me to his office and said that he had decided to step down. This meant I would have to become Acting President,” Putin recalled.

Putin described it as not an easy decision to make, given that it is “a rather heavy load to bear”

“I had my own thoughts, my own reasoning, but at the same time, there was another logic I had to consider too. Fate was offering me the chance to work for the country at the very highest level and it would have been foolish to say, no, I’m going to go and sell sunflower seeds instead, or go into private legal practice.

I could do all those other things later after all, and so I decided that this had to come first, and everything else later,” Putin explained his choice.


On December 31, 1999, Vladimir Putin became Acting President of the Russian Federation.


President and Prime Minister

You always need to think about the future, always look ahead


Vladimir Putin was elected President of Russia on March 26, 2000, and was re-elected to a second term on March 14, 2004. On May 8, 2008, he was appointed Prime Minister by presidential executive order.

President of the Russian Federation

Vladimir Putin was elected President of Russia on March 26, 2000. He was officially inaugurated on May 7, 2000.

In his inauguration speech he said, “We have common aims, we want our Russia to be a free, prosperous, flourishing, strong and civilized country, a country that its citizens are proud of and that is respected internationally.”

He added that he would be guided solely by the interests of the state. “Perhaps it will not be possible to avoid mistakes, but what I can promise and what I do promise is that I will work openly and honestly”, Putin said.

Second presidential term

Vladimir Putin was re-elected to a second presidential term on March 14, 2004. In his Address to the Federal Assembly on May 26, 2004, Putin said, “Our goals are very clear.
We want high living standards and a safe, free and comfortable life for the country.

We want a mature democracy and a developed civil society.

We want to strengthen Russia’s place in the world. But our main goal, I repeat, is to bring about a noticeable rise in our people’s prosperity.

We have better knowledge today of our own potential and we know what resources we have at our disposal.
We understand the obstacles we could face in reaching the goals we have set and we are actively modernising the state in order to make sure that its functions correspond to the present stage of Russia’s development – that of achieving a real rise in living standards.”

Prime Minister of the Russian Government

On May 8, 2008, Vladimir Putin was appointed Russian Prime Minister by presidential executive order.

“Russia has grown much stronger in recent years,” Putin said at a session of the Russian Federation State Duma. “We have enough resources to tackle still more ambitious tasks and goals.

The important thing is to make competent, effective and proper use of the accumulated potential. For my part I am ready to exert every effort to achieve the goals set, to deliver new and significant results for the prosperity of our country and for the sake of a worthy life for Russian citizens.”

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