Among the most important countries in the world, in terms of economic, military and political influence, Russia ranks among the topmost countries in the world. This makes its leader one of the most powerful people in the world. That leader, for a very long time, has been Vladimir Putin, who is the president of Russia. He is one of the longest-serving presidents in the world, leaving many to wonder just how long he has held the position.
Vladimir Putin’s journey to the highest office in the Russian Federation and his long stay in said office hasn’t been without its controversies, both locally and internationally, and it doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon.
In this article, we took a look at how long Vladimir Putin has been president of Russia as well as other the circumstances in which he continues to maintain his place as the head of the eastern European country.
How Long Has Vladimir Putin Been President?
Vladimir Putin started his career as a Russian spy working for the KGB but has built his legacy as a politician. He began his political career in Saint Petersburg, where he worked as an advisor under the Mayor of Leningrad, Anatoly Sobchak, who was his professor at Leningrad State University. After his time working for Anatoly, Vladimir Putin’s journey from local politician to holding the highest office in the Russian Federation saw him work in various positions such as the Presidential Property Management Department, the Federal Security Service and a few other roles.
Russia operates a federal semi-presidential system, meaning it has a President, who is the head of state as well as a Prime Minister, who is appointed by the President. Vladimir Putin was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in August 1999, becoming acting prime minister on the 9th of August 1999.
Following the abrupt resignation of President Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin began his first stint as the president of Russia in an acting capacity. He served in the acting role from 31st of December 1999 to 7th of May 2000. Following the official election in May 2000, Vladimir Putin became the official President of Russia, serving two consecutive four-year terms between 2000 and 2008.
During his first election in 2000, Vladimir Putin contested as an independent candidate. He contested against ten other candidates, emerging victorious with 39.7 million votes, which accounted for 53.4% of the vote. In his second election in 2004, he contested again as Independent, against five candidates, winning with more than 49.5 million votes which were 71.9% of the total votes cast.
Bound by the Constitution of Russia, which says a president is not allowed to serve three consecutive terms, Vladimir Putin did not contest for a third time and instead, engineered a successor, Dmitry Medvedev, to become the president of Russia, who in turn, appointed Putin to become the Prime Minister of Russia, a move that drew both local and international criticism.
Vladimir Putin returned to the highest office in Russia in 2012, contesting and winning 63% of the presidential vote in 2012 under the United Russia party. In 2012, he contested under the United Russia Party and won a smaller share of the vote compared to his second election, winning with 45.6 million votes – 63.6% of the total votes.
Following the revise of the presidential term from four years to six years in 2008, at the completion of his term in 2018, Putin contested for a fourth presidential term, as an independent. He won 56.4 million votes, which accounted for 76.69% of the votes cast. He contested against seven other candidates.
According to the Russian Constitution, Vladimir Putin is not expected to contest for the Presidential election in 2024.
After his fourth term as President of Russia, Vladimir Putin would have been president of Russia for a total of 20 years, as well as serving as Prime minister for four years.
The overwhelming victories of Vladimir Putin’s elections as President of Russia have drawn scrutiny from observers across Europe and the rest of the globe. His 2012 and 2018 victories were believed to have been down to large amounts of electoral fraud, as well as voter suppression and the arrest and murder of influential political opponents.
As President of Russia, Vladimir Putin has overseen major domestic and foreign policies such as the invasion and annexation of Crimea, the Russian gay propaganda law which discriminates against the LGBT community as well as the Kyoto Protocol which was designed to reduce greenhouse gases in Russia. Under his Presidency, Russia hosted the 21st FIFA World Cup.