Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (born 7 October 1952) is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer who is serving as the current president of Russia since 2012, previously being in the office from 1999 until 2008. He was also prime minister from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. As of 2021, Putin is the second-longest serving European president, after Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus. Putin was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) and studied law at Leningrad State University, graduating in 1975. Putin worked as a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, before resigning in 1991 to begin a political career in Saint Petersburg. He later moved to Moscow in 1996 to join the administration of president Boris Yeltsin. He briefly served as director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and secretary of the Security Council, before being appointed as prime minister in August 1999. After the resignation of Yeltsin, Putin became acting president, and less than four months later was elected outright to his first term as president and was reelected in 2004. As he was then constitutionally limited to two consecutive terms as president, Putin chose to become the prime minister again from 2008 to 2012, and was reelected as president in 2012, and again in 2018. In April 2021, following a referendum, he signed into law constitutional amendments including one that would allow him to run for reelection twice more, potentially extending his presidency to 2036.During his first tenure as president, the Russian economy grew for eight straight years, with GDP measured by purchasing power increasing by 72%, real incomes increased by a factor of 2.5, real wages more than tripled; unemployment and poverty more than halved and the Russians' self-assessed life satisfaction rose significantly. The growth was a result of a fivefold increase in the price of oil and gas, which constitute the majority of Russian exports, recovery from the post-Communist depression and financial crises, a rise in foreign investment, and prudent economic and fiscal policies. Serving under Dmitry Medvedev from 2008 to 2012, he oversaw large-scale military reform and police reform. In 2012, Putin sought a third term as president and won with almost 64% of the vote. Falling oil prices coupled with international sanctions imposed at the beginning of 2014 after Russia's military intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea led to GDP shrinking by 3.7% in 2015, though the Russian economy rebounded in 2016 with 0.3% GDP growth, and the recession officially ended. Development under Putin has included the construction of pipelines, the restoration of the satellite navigation system GLONASS, and the building of infrastructure for international events such as the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Putin received 76% of the vote in the 2018 election and was re-elected for a six-year term ending in 2024. Under Putin's leadership, Russia has experienced democratic backsliding. Experts do not generally consider Russia to be a democracy, citing jailing of political opponents, purges, and the repression and prohibition of a free press, as well as the lack of free and fair elections. Russia has scored poorly on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index, and Freedom House's Freedom in the World index. Human rights organizations and activists accuse Putin of persecuting political critics and activists as well as ordering them tortured or assassinated.