From a press conference with Dimitri Yakushkin, special adviser to Russia's Acting President Vladimir Putin, at the National Press Club here on Tuesday:

Q: Could you please tell us who has helped form acting President Putin's political thinking in his life--in other words, who are the people he's modeled his thinking after? And could you also tell us a little bit about his own family? . . .

Mr. Yakushkin: . . . Well, I think that one of the men who influenced [him] a lot was [former St. Petersburg mayor Anatoly] Sobchak, because for five years Mr. Putin worked as first deputy [mayor] with Mr. Sobchak. . . .

Mr. Putin left the KGB on the 19th of August in 1991. That's a very major step. You know, it was a difficult decision for him, maybe, because he was a professional officer. He worked all his life before that in the KGB. . . . And the fact he worked with Mr. Sobchak, who belongs to a certain, well, you could say, liberal tendency, is also very characteristic. . . .

He has a wife. He has two daughters. I can't say more because his personal life is absolutely not in the open. . . .

Reporters dug up his school, where he went to school, his teachers, who had forgotten . . . that he was a pupil at this school. . . . Now, he lived in a communal apartment all his life, and the reporters went to his communal apartments . . . but people have changed, moved out, so nothing definite. I know that German reporters are trying to find his agents in Germany. So this work is really being done at this actual moment.