Putin’s Portrait

By Slava Tsukerman

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (born 7 October 1952) previously served as President of Russia from 2000 to 2008 and as Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012.  Since May 7, 2012 he started his new six year term of presidency.

Through all the long years of his political career he managed to keep his private secret.

According to the Russian journalists, it is easier and safer to write about the most sensitive issues of national security then about Putin’s family life. Very little is known about his 54-year-old wife Ludmila and daughters Maria (27) and Catherine (25).  Contemporary photos of the daughters are not available. Here are old ones:

Nobody knows where they live now. According to some reports they live in Germany; according to others – in US. Probably they live under false names. It is known that they studied in the German special high school in St. Petersburg and then at the University of St. Petersburg, where Maria studied biology and Catherine – Asian Cultures. Some media reported that Maria is married to the Dutch top-manager of the branch of Gazprom and Caterine is planning to marry a son of South Korean diplomat.

The first lady disappeared from the public scene a couple of years ago. There were rumors that, according to an old Russian Royal tradition, Putin wanted to lock her up in one of Pskov monasteries. Then, prior to the presidential election, Ludmila appeared in front of cameras again. But very often the photographs showed not a very happy woman.

On the Internet one can find a lot of rumors about Putin’s involvement with 26 year old glamorous Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva.  Last year Alina has given birth to a son and she is refusing to name the father.

According to the British newspaper The Sunday Times, Vladimir Putin is the richest man in the world – his secret business empire is estimated at 130 billion dollars. He is almost twice wealthier than  the officially recognized richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. According to the newspaper, Mr Putin through the entire period of being in power successfully combined politics with his own interests.

This information is never appears in Russian state controlled media.

Official Russian media presents Mr. Putin as a healthy athlete, successful in every kind of sporting or cultural activity. Putin plays piano on stage, pets tigers, rides horses, plays hockey and boxes.

The favorite sport of Vladimir Putin though is Judo. He never misses a possibility to demonstrate his achievements in martial arts to the entire world.

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The real sensation was when Vladimir Putin dived to the bottom of the Black Sea, where he found two well preserved ancient Greek amphoras. To the surprise of everybody the vessels, hidden at the bottom of the sea during the last fifteen centuries, turned were not covered with shells and dirt, as though they had been just taken from a museum exhibit.

Russian Internet bloggers are always eager to demystify Putin’s image.  Many sites show two portraits of the President, one made in 2006 and another in 2011. Looking at these pictures it’s hard not to notice that with years Russian leader getting not older, but younger.  Some people think that the secret of his youth is Botox.

Updated: July 28, 2012 — 11:51 am


  1. After the premier of Slava Tsukerman’s film Perestroika in New York a few years back, as I left the theater I struck up a conversation with several Russians milling about outside the theater. I said I thought it was too bad that the film didn’t lampoon Putin.

    “Nyet!” an older man shot back. “Putin good!”

    I’d be interested to read Mr. Tsukerman’s take as to why Putin remains so popular with so many Russians. I suppose it is rooted in the Russian liking of strongmen.

  2. Bill,

    I think you are absolutely right. It’s a tradition supported by absence of any experience of democracy. It’s amazing but today, in spite of years of anti Stalin propaganda, millions of Russians prefer to believe that Stalin was the best leader in the Russian history.

  3. Many Russians support Putin because they believe he represents them. They belief that no matter what he does, it’s for Russia’s benefit. But in reality he has a done a great deal of damage to many Russians and only represents himself.

    He will do anything to stay in power and continue stealing. Kill, torture, kidnap, you name it. Even start a war between Russia and Ukraine.

  4. Rubbish !

    V. PUTIN is a great smart Head of State.

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