Vladimir Putin: From Russian spy to President

Vladimir Putin: From Russian spy to President

MOSCOW - Vladimir Putin, Born 7 October 1952 in Leningrad — now St Petersburg.

Studies law and joins KGB after university

Serves as a spy in communist East Germany — some ex-KGB comrades later get top state posts in Putin era

In the 1990s was top aide to St Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak, who previously taught him law

Enters Boris Yeltsins Kremlin in 1997, who made chief of Federal Security Service (the FSB, the main successor of the KGB), then prime minister

New Year’s Eve, 1999, Yeltsin quits and names him acting president

Easily wins presidential election in March 2000

Wins a second term in 2004

Is barred from running for a third successive term by the Russian constitution, but instead becomes prime minister

Wins a third presidential term in 2012

Is likely to win more than 70 per cent in Sunday’s election for a fourth term