The president of Russia since 2000. Putin served in the KGB, the secret police for the former Soviet Union, then entered politics after the collapse of communism. In 1999, Russian president Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin prime minister, his fifth in seventeen months. After Yeltsin resigned the presidency, Putin was elected president in 2000. Although he has opposed American president George W. Bush's plans for an antimissile defense system, he has cooperated with Bush in responding to the threat of terrorism, which Russia has faced in Chechnya.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.