Putin’s long history in Russian politics

Hailey Dent, creeker editor

The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has started conflicts with their neighboring country Ukraine. The invasion began on February 24, and is ongoing. Russia has recently bombed important building such as the internationally recognized memorial at Babyn Yar and the Mariupol maternity ward.
“I’m really not sure what Putin is doing. I’ve seen one article says that Putin was trying to take control over Ukraine because it’s leaders were anti-semitic, but I’ve also read somewhere that Ukraine’s leader is Jewish,” said Gavin Rivera, a junior.
Putin has been president of Russia since 2012, and previously from 2000 until 2008. He was also the prime minister from 1999 to 2000, and again from 2008 to 2012. Before his political career, he studied law at Leningrad State University, graduating in 1975. He studied in Moscow at the KGB’s foreign intelligence institute under the pseudonym ‘Platov’.
Putin served in the KGB, the Russian version of the CIA, for 16 years and traveled across Russia. In 1985, he was sent to Dresden in East Germany. He rose through the ranks of the KGB and eventually became a lieutenant colonel. He worked as a KGB foreign intelligence officer, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, before resigning in 1991 to begin a political career in Saint Petersburg.
“I think Putin is a war criminal,” said Bret Lineburg, a history teacher. “I think he’s committed war crimes. His arguments about invading the eastern parts of Ukraine on the basis of de-Nazification are absurd. President Zelenskyy is a child of holocaust survivors and I think it’s doomed to fail. He’s already withdrawn troops from Kyiv, so I think its a lesson of futility.”
To stop the war, the Russian leader wants Ukraine to recognize Crimea as part of Russia and to recognize the independence of the separatist-run east. He also demands that Ukraine change its constitution to guarantee it will not join Nato and the EU.
Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz believes this goes beyond Nato and that Russia’s leader “wants to take over Europe according to his world view.” Putin wants a Russian empire, he warns.
“I’ve heard that there’s a lot of censorship in Russia. What is going on in Russia right now is that the soldiers who are being sent to Ukraine are told it’s just for some test and not even the soldiers know why they’re going to Ukraine. The Russian media isn’t showing anyone what’s happening in Ukraine,” said Victoria Lazo, a sophomore.
The conflict has caught the attention of people all over the world, bringing new attention to Putin. Scholars and reporters are working to understand his motives for attacking Ukraine and what his future plans may entail.