Since taking the office in 2000, Vladimir Putin has expanded the powers of Russia's presidency, consolidating authority in the Kremlin and weakening other democratic institutions. Putin, who serves as prime minister, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced Saturday that they intend to swap jobs, putting the country on an authoritarian path for years to come. The move will put Putin back in the presidency after a four-year absence.
Vladimir Putin in a class photo dated 1966. Putin, an only son, was born in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, to a factory foreman and his wife on Oct. 7, 1952. Laski Diffusion-Newsmakers Buy Photo