Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin - 1990-1999
After Soviet troops left East Germany, Putin returned to Leningrad. 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 June 1991, he assumed the position of surveillance officer with the International Affairs section of Leningrad State University. But the stint was short-lived – Putin formally resigned from the state security services on 20 August 1991, during the KGB-supported coup d’etat against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev [other sources report that in 1992 Putin resigned from the state security services in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel].
His work at Leningrad State University got him re-acquainted with his former professor Anatoly Sobchak, then Leningrad City Soviet Chairman (the equivalent of mayor). It was Sobchak who brought Vladimir Putin into politics. Sobchak was among the principal authors of the Russian Constitution.
In 1990, in his very first year working for St. Petersburg city hall, city councillors discovered that Putin had permitted the sale of highly undervalued steel in exchange for foreign food aid that never arrived. Despite an investigative committee recommending his ouster, Putin remained in his position until 1996, having already formed a close friendship with Mayor Anatoly Sobchak.
On 28 June 1991 Putin was appointed Head of the Committee for External Relations of the Saint Petersburg Mayor's Office. He was responsible for promoting international relations and foreign investments, as well as registering foreign business ventures in Saint Petersburg. Putin remained in this position until 1996. Nowadays, even his current political critics said that back then Putin was famed for his resistance to the temptation of corruption – self-exiled Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky is often cited by the media as saying, “Putin never took bribes during his time in the office.”
His job was to vet would-be foreign investors. In 1992, he was accused of corruption in connection with a plan to export $122 million in goods to buy food for the city. Mayor Anatoly Sobchak ignored city legislators' recommendation that he be sacked.
From 1994 to 1996 Puting served as First deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. In 1996 Sobchak lost a mayoral vote and Putin lost his job. After Vladimir Yakovlev defeated Sobchak at the polls in 1996, Putin resigned in support of the mayor and initially refused an offer to join the Yakovlev administration. But his talent didn’t go unnoticed and he was summoned to Moscow to work in President Boris Yeltsin’s Administration.
In 1996, he and his family moved to Moscow, where his political career began. In August 1996 Putin was named Deputy head of the Kremlin's household affairs directorate, and in March 1997 he Became head of the Kremlin's general control department and a deputy Kremlin chief of staff.
From July 1998 to August 1999 Valdimir Putin served as Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the main successor to the KGB. There were also rumors that Putin used his position to protect Anatoly Sobchak, his former boss, from prosecution on corruption charges. Putin's loyalty to Sobchak in thes regard is said to have impressed President Yeltsin and may have contributed to Yeltsin's choosing Putin as his successor. In March 1999 his duties as FSB chief were expanded to include running the Kremlin Security Council.
In August 1999 Putin was named prime minister, Yeltsin's fifth in fewer than 18 months, replacing Sergei Stepashin. Putin said the reason for the change was the upcoming elections and escalating tensions in Dagestan. Yeltsin said he wanted Putin to succeed him as president, and Putin, who was not well known at the time, announced his intention to run for president. Putin's premiership was consumed by a renewed and rather more successful military campaign in Chechnya, which earned him recognition and high marks at home.
From 1998 until 1999, Yeltsin had a stream of five prime ministers - each of was replaced on little more than Yeltsin's whims. Yeltsin felt threatened as the attorney general began to investigate Yeltsin and his family. Prosecutor General and Yeltsin adversary Yury Skuratov accused Putin of orchestrating his downfall.
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