Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Russian: Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин) (born 7 October 1952) is the President of the Russian Federation. He was elected to a six-year term in 2012, and previously served two four-year terms from 2000 to 2008.
- Sadly, it reminds me of World War II, when German fascist forces surrounded our cities, like Leningrad, and shelled population centres and their residents.
- On the Ukrainian army's siege of pro-Russian rebel strongholds in Donetsk and Luhansk, 29 August 2014, , The Wall Street Journal
- "In America, torture was legalized, do you believe it?" December 18, 2014 via http://rt.com/news/215471-putin-press-conference-updates/
- We are guided by interests rather than feelings in dealing with our partners. 10 December 2014 http://itar-tass.com/en/economy/766135, "Russia interested in US economy’s ability to resist current crisis — Russian PM"
- Speaking of the sanctions, they are not just a knee-jerk reaction on behalf of the United States or its allies to our position regarding the events and the coup in Ukraine, or even the so-called Crimean Spring. I’m sure that if these events had never happened – I want to point this out specifically for you as politicians sitting in this auditorium – if none of that had ever happened, they would have come up with some other excuse to try to contain Russia’s growing capabilities, affect our country in some way, or even take advantage of it. 4 December 2014, The Kremlin Moscow, http://eng.news.kremlin.ru/news/23341
- However, in this case I would like to speak about the most serious and sensitive issue: international security. Since 2002, after the US unilaterally pulled out of the ABM Treaty, which was absolutely a cornerstone of international security, a strategic balance of forces and stability, the US has been working relentlessly to create a global missile defence system, including in Europe. This poses a threat not only to Russia, but to the world as a whole – precisely due to the possible disruption of this strategic balance of forces. 4 December 2014, The Kremlin Moscow, http://eng.news.kremlin.ru/news/23341
- "Sometimes you don't know what is better: to talk with the governments of some States or directly with their American patrons and sponsors." 6 December 2014, Владимир Путин @ facebook.com
- It's difficult to talk to people who whisper even at home, afraid of Americans eavesdropping on them. It’s not a figure of speech, not a joke, I'm serious.
- I bow my head to the victims of terrorism. I am highly impressed of the courage of New York residents. The great city and the great American nation are to win!
- Inscription at the World Trade Center Memorial Wall (15 November 2001).
- For the preservation of the majestic Russia!
- Russians have different far lofty ambitions; more of a spiritual kind. It's more about your relationship with God.
- The U.S. is a very democratic state. There's no doubt about that. And it originally developed as a democratic state. When the first settlers set their foot on the continent, life forced them to forge a relationship and maintain a dialogue with each other to survive. That's why America was conceived as a fundamental democracy.
- Interview (2013).
- [I]t's not by chance that Russia and the U.S. forge alliances in the most critical moments of modern history. That was the case in WWI and WWII. Even if there was fierce confrontation, our countries united against a common threat, which means there's something that unites us. There must be some fundamental interest which brings us together. That's something we need to focus on first. We need to be aware of our differences but focus on a positive agenda that can improve our cooperation.
- Russia does not have in its possession any trustworthy data that supports the existence of nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we have not received any such information from our partners as yet.
- If you want to become an Islamic fundamentalist and be circumcised, come to Moscow. We are multiconfessional. We have very good specialists. I can recommend one for the operation. He'll make sure nothing grows back.
- In response to a journalist who asked about Russian abuses in Chechnya during a press conference in November 2002 Newsbusters
- Two weeks later they still have not been found. The question is, where is Saddam Hussein? Where are those weapons of mass destruction, if they were ever in existence? Is Saddam Hussein in a bunker sitting on cases containing weapons of mass destruction, preparing to blow the whole place up?
- In a Press conference, regarding the weapon of mass destruction of Iraq. (May 1, 2003)
- Why don't you meet Osama bin Laden, invite him to Brussels or to the White House and engage in talks, ask him what he wants and give it to him so he leaves you in peace? You find it possible to set some limitations in your dealings with these bastards, so why should we talk to people who are child-killers? No one has a moral right to tell us to talk to childkillers.
- Yes, life in Chechnya so far looks more like a life after a natural disaster.
- Russia has made its choice in favor of democracy. Fourteen years ago, independently, without any pressure from outside, it made that decision in the interests of itself and interests of its people — of its citizens. This is our final choice, and we have no way back. There can be no return to what we used to have before. And the guarantee for this is the choice of the Russian people, themselves. No, guarantees from outside cannot be provided. This is impossible. It would be impossible for Russia today. Any kind of turn towards totalitarianism for Russia would be impossible, due to the condition of the Russian society.
- I see that not everyone in the West has understood that the Soviet Union has disappeared from the political map of the world and that a new country has emerged with new humanist and ideological principles at the foundation of its existence.
- People in Russia say that those who do not regret the collapse of the Soviet Union have no heart, and those that do regret it have no brain. We do not regret this, we simply state the fact and know that we need to look ahead, not backwards. We will not allow the past to drag us down and stop us from moving ahead. We understand where we should move. But we must act based on a clear understanding of what happened..
- Interview with German television channel ARD and ZDF, May 2005. 
- We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy that they have in Iraq, quite honestly.
- I realise that 2008 will be an important test for Russia, and not an easy one. At the same time, the Constitution of the Russian Federation states that the President, the head of state, is elected for four years through direct secret ballot and cannot stay in office for more than two consecutive terms.
I am not indifferent of course to the question of who will take in their hands the destiny of the country I have devoted my life to serving. But if each successive head of state were to change the Constitution to suit them, we would soon find ourselves without a state at all. I think that Russia's different political forces are sufficiently mature to realise their responsibility to the people of the Russian Federation. In any case, the person who receives the votes of the majority of Russian citizens will become the President of the country.
- Answering the question of Dutch TV station "Nederland 1" and Dutch newspaper "NRC Handelsblad", "Can you imagine a situation in which you would decide to remain in office for a third term?", Putin said: 
- Not everyone likes the stable, gradual rise of our country. There are some who are using the democratic ideology to interfere in our internal affairs.
- I will recall once more Russia's most recent history.
Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century. As for the Russian nation, it became a genuine drama. Tens of millions of our co-citizens and compatriots found themselves outside Russian territory. Moreover, the epidemic of disintegration infected Russia itself.
Individual savings were depreciated, and old ideals destroyed. Many institutions were disbanded or reformed carelessly. Terrorist intervention and the Khasavyurt capitulation that followed damaged the country's integrity. Oligarchic groups — possessing absolute control over information channels — served exclusively their own corporate interests. Mass poverty began to be seen as the norm. And all this was happening against the backdrop of a dramatic economic downturn, unstable finances, and the paralysis of the social sphere.
Many thought or seemed to think at the time that our young democracy was not a continuation of Russian statehood, but its ultimate collapse, the prolonged agony of the Soviet system.
But they were mistaken.
That was precisely the period when the significant developments took place in Russia. Our society was generating not only the energy of self-preservation, but also the will for a new and free life.
- We have spoken on many occasions of the need to achieve high economic growth as an absolute priority for our country. The annual address for 2003 set for the first time the goal of doubling gross domestic product within a decade.
- Russia must realise its full potential in high-tech sectors such as modern energy technology, transport and communications, space and aircraft building.
- But if the U.S. were to leave and abandon Iraq without establishing the grounds for a united and sovereign country, that would definitely be a second mistake.
- After saying the US shouldn't have gone into Iraq in the first place
- Russia does not want confrontation of any kind. And we will not take part in any kind of "holy alliance".
- I stress that we unambiguously support strengthening the non-proliferation regime, without any exceptions, on the basis of international law.
- A superpower is a cold war term. When people today say that Russia aspires to have this status, I interpret it in the following way: they want to undermine trust in Russia, to portray Russia as frightening, and create some kind of image of an enemy. … Russia is in favor of a multipolar world, a democratic world order, strengthening the system of international law, and for developing a legal system in which any small country, even a very small country, can feel itself secure, as if behind a stone wall. … Russia is ready to become part of this multipolar world and guarantee that the international community observes these rules. And not as a superpower with special rights, but rather as an equal among equals.
- If there is no possibility or, to put it in plain terms, if there is no money... What can you do? You can't go to a store, you can't buy anything, either a cannon, or a missile, or a medicine. For this reason the economy is at the basis of everything. In the beginning it was Karl Marx and then Freud and others...
- During a meeting with representatives of the Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, May 13, 2006
- We still have a great amount of work to do in social development, including resolving one of the biggest challenges we face in this area, namely, reducing the gap between high-income earners and people, citizens of our country, who are still living on very modest means indeed. But we cannot, of course, adopt the solution used 80 years ago and simply confiscate the riches of some to redistribute among others. We will use completely different means to resolve this problem, namely, we will ensure good economic growth.
- Their [U.S.] defense budget in absolute figures is almost 25 times bigger than Russia's. This is what in defense is referred to as "their home — their fortress". And good for them, I say. Well done!
- On the United States
- 2006 annual address to the Federal Assembly
- But this means that we also need to build our home and make it strong and well protected. We see, after all, what is going on in the world. "The Comrade Wolf knows whom to eat, as the saying goes. It knows whom to eat and is not about to listen to anyone, it seems."
- There is no such thing as a former KGB man.
- I think there are things of which I and the people who have worked with me can feel deservedly proud. They include restoring Russia's territorial integrity, strengthening the state, progress towards establishing a multiparty system, strengthening the parliamentary system, restoring the Armed Forces' potential and, of course, developing the economy. As you know, our economy has been growing by 6.9 percent a year on average over this time, and our GDP has increased by 7.7 percent over the first four months of this year alone.
When I began my work in the year 2000, 30 percent of our population was living below the poverty line. There has been a two-fold drop in the number of people living below the poverty line since then and the figure today is around 15 percent. By 2009-2010, we will bring this figure down to 10 percent, and this will bring us in line with the European average.
We had enormous debts, simply catastrophic for our economy, but we have paid them off in full now. Not only have we paid our debts, but we now have the best foreign debt to GDP ratio in Europe. Our gold and currency reserve figures are well known: in 2000, they stood at just $12 billion and we had a debt of more than 100 percent of GDP, but now we have the third-biggest gold and currency reserves in the world and they have increased by $90 billion over the first four months of this year alone.
During the 1990s and even in 2000-2001, we had massive capital flight from Russia with $15 billion, $20 billion or $25 billion leaving the country every year. Last year we reversed this situation for the first time and had capital inflow of $41 billion. We have already had capital inflow of $40 billion over the first four months of this year. Russia's stock market capitalisation showed immense growth last year and increased by more than 50 percent. This is one of the best results in the world, perhaps even the best. Our economy was near the bottom of the list of world economies in terms of size but today it has climbed to ninth place and in some areas has even overtaken some of the other G8 countries' economies. This means that today we are able to tackle social problems. Real incomes are growing by around 12 percent a year. Real income growth over the first four months of this year came to just over 18 percent, while wages rose by 11-12 percent.
Looking at the problems we have yet to resolve, one of the biggest is the huge income gap between the people at the top and the bottom of the scale. Combating poverty is obviously one of our top priorities in the immediate term and we still have to do a lot to improve our pension system too because the correlation between pensions and the average wage is still lower here than in Europe. The gap between incomes at the top and bottom end of the scale is still high here – a 15.6-15.7-fold difference. This is less than in the United States today (they have a figure of 15.9) but more than in the UK or Italy (where they have 13.6-13.7). But this remains a big gap for us and fighting poverty is one of our biggest priorities.
- Товарищ волк знает, кого кушать. Кушает, и никого не слушает, и слушать, судя по всему, не собирается.
- Надо исполнять закон всегда, а не только тогда, когда схватили за одно место.
- Понятно, что надо больше платить, это самый простой вариант, не всегда возможный,(но простой) но способов решения проблемы много
- Translation: It is clear that we have to pay more, it is the simple option, not always affordable, ("but simple," said in actual recording) but the ways to solve the problem are many.
- On human capital flight, in address to Committee for Education, Science and Technology (26 October 2004).
- The democratic choice Russian people made in the early 90's is final.
- Interview in Brazil for space talks, (22 November 2004).
- It's extremely dangerous trying to resolve political problems outside the framework of the law — first the ‘Rose Revolution', then they'll think up something like blue. [word play here: "rose" having the colloquial sense of "lesbian" in modern Russian, and "blue" meaning "gay"]
- First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.
- In a nationally televised speech on (25 April 2005), San Diego Union Tribune.
- He raped 10 women. I never expected it from him. He surprised all of us. We all envy him.
- People are always teaching us democracy but the people who teach us democracy don't want to learn it themselves.
- MUNICH, February 10, 2007. 
- После смерти Махатмы Ганди поговорить не с кем.
- Translation: There is no one to talk to since Mahatma Gandhi died.
- Responding to a question "Former Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called you a 'pure democrat'. Do you consider yourself such?" June 4, 2007, 
- At least the state figure should have a head.
- I have worked like a galley slave throughout these eight years, morning till night, and I have given all I could to this work. I am happy with the results.
- Quoted in The Truth About Putin and Medvedev, last annual press conference.
- "They [Georgian military forces] launched their attacks at 23:30 [on August 7]. I learned about it the following morning. I spoke to Bush. He said 'No one wants war.' We expected something would happen, I met him again at the stadium. I can't tell you in detail the content of the conversation, but I had the feeling that his administration wouldn't do anything about stopping the conflict, It's a court which makes a king. Maybe the court thought the king shouldn't intervene."
- Speaking to western journalists and academics in Sochi for the first time since the Georgia crisis began. (September 2008)
- “We in Russia have always considered Russians and Ukrainians to be one people. I still think so.” (Мы всегда в России считали, что русские и украинцы – это один народ. Я так думаю и сейчас.)
- Speech at a Moscow concert on the first anniversary of the annexation of the Crimea by the Russian Federation, March 18, 2015.
- “There are historians here, and people with their own views on our country’s history might argue with me, but I think that the Russian and Ukrainian peoples are practically one single people, no matter what others might say.” (“Вот люди, которые имеют свои собственные взгляды, здесь историков очень много, на историю нашей страны, могут поспорить, но мне кажется, что русский и украинский народ – это практически один народ, вот кто бы чего ни говорил.”)
- On not needing Ukraine to win the Second World War: “Now on our relationship with Ukraine: I will disagree when you said that if we had been separate states we would not have been victorious in the war. We would have won in any case, because we are a nation of winners.” (“Теперь по поводу наших отношений с Украиной. Я позволю с вами не согласиться, когда вы сейчас сказали, что если бы мы были разделены, мы не победили бы в войне. Мы все равно бы победили, потому что мы – страна победителей.”)
- In a Channel One televised Q&A in 2010-12-16 (quoted in “Russian-Ukrainian Information Wars Over the Meanings of WWII.)
- [Anton Denikin, in his diary] “has a discussion there about Big Russia and Little Russia — Ukraine. He says that no one should be allowed to interfere in relations between us; they have always been the business of Russia itself.”
- On laying a wreath at Denikin’s grave in Moscow, May 24, 2009. James Marson, “Putin to the West: Hands off Ukraine” in Time Magazine, May 25, 2009.
- “You don't understand, George, that Ukraine is not even a state. What is Ukraine? Part of its territories is Eastern Europe, but the greater part is a gift from us.” (“Ты же понимаешь, Джордж, что Украина — это даже не государство! Что такое Украина? Часть ее территорий — это Восточная Европа, а часть, и значительная, подарена нами!”)
- “Just as one must respect our interests since almost 17 million ethnic Russians live in Ukraine and half of all Ukrainian families have ties with the Russian Federation,” in an interview with German ZDF TV, July 13, 2006.
- “According to the statistics, up to 17 million ethnic Russians live in Ukraine, while some four million Ukrainians live in Russia, whether permanently or temporarily,” live with President Vladimir Putin, October 18, 2007.
- “Of Ukraine’s 45 million people, 17 million are ethnic Russians, and this is only according to official statistics. Almost 100 percent of people there consider Russian their native language, well, 80 percent perhaps,” in an interview with Time Magazine, December 19, 2007.
- “There are 17 million ethnic Russians there, officially. Almost 100% of the people consider Russian as their mother tongue,” in the same interview, according to Time.
- There are actually 8.3 million ethnic Russians in Ukraine (17.3% of the population), and 29.3% of Ukrainians consider Russian their native language (2001 census).
- “Ukraine is an independent, sovereign state and will choose its own path to peace and security. . . . Such a conversation would be entirely appropriate and entirely possible. I certainly don’t see there being anything particularly tricky here, anything that need or that could cast a shadow over relations between Russia and Ukraine.”
- About Ukraine seeking membership in Nato, after the Nato–Russia Council was created at the Nato summit in Rome, May 28, 2002.
- In order to preserve a balance, while we aren't planning to build a missile defence of our own, as it's very expensive and its efficiency is not quite clear yet, we have to develop offensive strike systems. They [U.S.] should give us all the information about the missile defence, and we will be ready then to provide some information about offensive weapons.
- Putin said that arms control talks between Moscow and Washington were proceeding in a positive way. (December 2009)
- I am personally acquainted with Mr Gates, I have met him on several occasions. I think he is a very nice man and not a bad specialist. But Mr Gates, of course, was one of the leaders of the US Central Intelligence Agency and today he is defense secretary. If he also happens to be America's leading expert on democracy, I congratulate you.
- He is profoundly wrong. Our country is run by the people of the Russian Federation through legitimately elected bodies of power and administration: through representative bodies (the parliament) and executive bodies (the president and the government of the Russian Federation)
- "All the world saw him being killed, all bloodied. Is that democracy? And who did it? Drones, including American ones, delivered a strike on his motorcade. Then commandos, who were not supposed to be there, brought in so-called opposition and militants. And killed him without trial."
- "Mr McCain fought in Vietnam. I think that he has enough blood of peaceful citizens on his hands. It must be impossible for him to live without these disgusting scenes anymore. Mr McCain was captured and they kept him not just in prison, but in a pit for several years, Anyone [in his place] would go nuts."
- We are not for Assad, neither for his opponents, We want to achieve the situation where the violence ends and there won’t be large-scale civil war. How many of peaceful people were killed by so-called militants? Did you count? There are also hundreds of victims. What is happening in Libya, in Iraq? Did they become safer? Where are they heading? Nobody has an answer.
- Recently the British people suffered a huge loss. It was a tragedy next to his barracks on the streets of London. A violent assassination, a very brutal killing of a British serviceman. Clearly the opposition is not composed all of this but many of them are exactly the same as the ones who perpetrated the killing in London. If we equip these people, if we arm them what is going to control and verify? who is going to have these weapons?, including in Europe as well. So we call all our partners, before making this dangerous step, think about it very carefully.
- In Enniskillen, 18 June 2013, g8-summit-politics-live-blog, guardian.co.uk
- Not all G8 members take the view that chemical weapons were in fact used by the Syrian Army. Some actually agree with us that there is no proof We had disagreements that is true but I never felt lonely and Russia never was on its own in making a statement in regards of Syria.
- In Enniskillen, 18 June 2013 g8-summit-politics-live-blog, guardian.co.uk
- "In any case, I'd rather not deal with such questions, because anyway it's like shearing a pig – lots of screams but little wool."
- On not wanting to deal with the US re: Edward Snowden, 25 June 2013 . guardian.co.uk
- Syria is already in the grips of a civil war, unfortunately enough, and Egypt is moving in that direction. We would like to see the Egyptian people avoid this fate
- On the situation in Egypt after the ousting of Egyptian president Morsi, 7 July 2013  The Economic Times.co.uk
- This was very unpleasant and surprising for me. We talk to them [the Americans], and we assume they are decent people, but he [John Kerry] is lying and he knows that he is lying. This is sad.
- On the recent chemical attack in Syria, 5 September 2013  USA Today.co.uk
- Any minority’s right to be different must be respected, but the right of the majority must not be questioned.
- Without the values at the core of Christianity and other world religions, without moral norms that have been shaped over millennia, people will inevitably lose their human dignity.
- During his speech at the Valdai forum in 2013
- They act as they please: here and there, they use force against sovereign states, building coalitions based on the principle 'If you are not with us, you are against us.' To make this aggression look legitimate, they force the necessary resolutions from international organizations, and if for some reason this does not work, they simply ignore the UN Security Council and the UN overall.
- Crimea address (18 March 2014) 
- The biggest nationalist in Russia: that’s me. (Самый большой националист в России — это я)
- 2014-10-24, addressing the Valdai Club.
- As for some countries’ concerns about Russia's possible aggressive actions, I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO. I think some countries are simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia. They just want to play the role of front-line countries that should receive some supplementary military, economic, financial or some other aid. Therefore, it is pointless to support this idea; it is absolutely groundless. But some may be interested in fostering such fears. I can only make a conjecture.
For example, the Americans do not want Russia's rapprochement with Europe. I am not asserting this, it is just a hypothesis. Let’s suppose that the United States would like to maintain its leadership in the Atlantic community. It needs an external threat, an external enemy to ensure this leadership. Iran is clearly not enough – this threat is not very scary or big enough. Who can be frightening? And then suddenly this crisis unfolds in Ukraine. Russia is forced to respond. Perhaps, it was engineered on purpose, I don’t know. But it was not our doing.
Let me tell you something – there is no need to fear Russia. The world has changed so drastically that people with some common sense cannot even imagine such a large-scale military conflict today. We have other things to think about, I assure you.
- 2015-06-06, Interview to the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera. 
Quotes about Putin
- Alphabetized by author
- This guy is a KGB guy. This guy issues a law allowing the Russians to kill opponents abroad. So they kill opponents abroad. This is absolutely logical. Why did they issue this law? For what? Because this is Russia and nobody agrees to kill without the signature of somebody more important who gave the order.
- Boris Berezovsky, as quoted in "Kremlin, Inc.: Why are Vladimir Putin’s opponents dying?" (29 January 2007), by Michael Specter, The New Yorker.
- I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country.
- [In 2000] Vladimir Putin had the intelligence, energy and stamina the country needed to get Russia's economy on track and handle its complicated politics.
- I have always been strongly attracted by the Russian temperament, because I myself also feel very, very much Russian. I adore Vladimir Putin, your president.
- After nearly fifteen years of systematic destruction of public space, engineered by Putin, the normal ways by which regular people absorb information about the state of their country are gone. Only a person who had lost his livelihood or half his savings would have been able to report that the economy was failing.
- Public space frightens the Putin regime, which has worked hard, and effectively, to destroy it.
- Like the Soviet regime before it, the Putin government spreads fear by destroying the illusion that one can protect oneself.
- Masha Gessen, as quoted in "Putin's Russia: Don't Walk, Don't Eat, and Don't Drink" (28 May 2015), by M. Gessen, The New Yorker.
- I looked into his eyes and saw three letters: a 'K', a 'G', and a 'B'.
- John McCain, as quoted in "Hillary Clinton Campaigning Ponders Putin's Soul" (2008), Boston.
- Putin is slouching…looking like that bored schoolboy in the back of the classroom.
- Ich glaube ihm das, und ich bin davon überzeugt, dass er das ist.
- This man think that you can’t criticise your government.
This man thinks that if you sing and dance in an inappropriate way you get two years in prison!
Pussy Riot – Vladimir Putin Message. This man thinks that if you sing and dance in an inappropriate way you get two years in prison!
- Pussy Riot, As Quoted in "Members of the Pussy Riot burn effigy Putin as they vow to continue their 'musical fight in Russia." (6 September 2012), Lybio.Net.
- The official site of the President of the Russian Federation
- Transcript of an American TV discussion held in November 2003; discusses whether Putin is a democrat or a dictator
- BBC - Vladimir Putin: Spy turned politician
- PutinRu.com - Vladimir Putin - President of Russian Federation
- Atlantic Monthly- The Accidental Autocrat
- Putin faces nation's questions, BBC News