Vladimir Putin illustration by Ingram Pinn

Vladimir Putin commenced his second term as president of Russia in May 2012, having already served in the role between 2000 and 2008.

A former KGB agent in East Germany from 1985 to 1990, he began his political career in Moscow in 1996, eventually including two stints as prime minister - 1999 to 2000 and 2008 to 2012.

Putin appeals to nationalism as economy wobbles

Russian leader flies flag in troubled Kaliningrad exclave

Final photograph of Alexander Litvinenko

Litvinenko suspect had poison, hearing told

Russian said to have told former colleague dissident had to die

Photo 1: Oleg Melnikov with fellow members of his battalion in east Ukraine last summer Photo courtesy of Oleg Melnikov

Return of Ukraine fighters alarms Russia

Moscow authorities anxious over volunteers heading home

Sergei Pugachev: ‘I brought Putin to power’

Former Russian oligarch claims Putin is behind a campaign to ruin him

Hammond warns of Russian agility in crises

Foreign secretary says need to secure public assent slows response

Diplomatic row erupts on MH17 anniversary

Russia rejects idea of international tribunal

Gunvor sells stake in Baltic oil terminal

Commodity trader seeks de-risk by reducing exposure to Russia

India and Pakistan join Eurasian club

Boost for Putin as security and economic grouping expands

Ex-Kremlin banker flees UK for France

Sergei Pugachev cites harassment and fears for his life

Brics differences on display at summit

Chinese market rout casts shadow over gathering

Yakunin warns Europe missing out on deals

Oligarch claims companies are surrendering opportunities to China

Saudis to invest $10bn in Russia

Deal comes as Riyadh and Moscow try to rebuild ties

Great Game echoes in halls of Asia summit

Eurasian forum key to Moscow’s quest to extend influence

Russia: Powers in the balance

Moscow wants to rewrite Europe’s security order to create zones of influence as a bulwark against Nato, while wooing China

Yevgeny Primakov, politician, 1929-2015

Moscow insider who switched between stern upholder of politburo orthodoxy and avuncular, intellectual charmer

Nuclear deterrent back on Nato agenda

Stronger defences weighed for first time since cold war

Nato strategy shifts to face Russia

Military alliance creates rapid reaction force

Putin aide warns over Russia-US relations

Ivanov cautions against plan for heavy weapons in east Europe

*** BESTPIX *** ZAGAN, POLAND - JUNE 18: Special Forces of the Polish Army atttack a house during the NATO Noble Jump military exercises of the VJTF forces on June 18, 2015 in Zagan, Poland. The VJTF, the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, is NATO's response to Russia's annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Troops from Germany, Norway, Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Belgium were among those taking part today. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Nato shows sharp end in Polish war games

Spearhead brigade rehearses rapid response to Russia

Red carpet fails to hide pressure on Russia

Signs of crisis remain at St Petersburg forum

Tsipras feted in Russia as Grexit looms

Prime minister flies to St Petersburg for business conference

Saudi defence minister to meet Putin

Prince to discuss Moscow’s support for al-Assad regime

Russian mistakes, western misunderstandings

For Putin, it is about sovereignty versus foreign intervention, writes Ivan Krastev

Ukraine’s creditors must share its pain

Private bondholders should accept a haircut in debt talks with Kiev

Renzi plays good cop to humour Putin

Italy and Russia maintain warm relationship despite Ukraine crisis

Poll reveals public split on Ukraine

Study shows limited tolerance for military escalation

Russia: Border tensions

Behind the rhetoric between Nato and Moscow over Ukraine there is little appetite for war

IMF Go Home" on corrugated metal fencing outside the University of Athens in Athens, Greece

Greeks chose poverty, let them have it

It is clear that citizens have no appetite for modernising society, writes Francesco Giavazzi

Putin warned of fresh Ukraine sanctions

G7 leaders close ranks to voice concerns after surge in violence

Russia rewrites history of the Prague Spring

State documentary claims 1968 invasion was move to protect Czechoslovakia against Nato coup

Europe’s problem is Russia, not Putin

Moscow is not a rising revolutionary force but one seeking to restore power, writes Thomas Graham

Russia outlaws talk of action in Ukraine

Crime to speak, write or broadcast on troop losses in peacetime

Putin accuses US of meddling in Fifa

Russian president backs Blatter and denounces corruption probe

Not ‘right time’ to deliver Iran missiles

Moscow delays delivery despite lifting arms embargo on Tehran

The US can talk to Putin and stay firm on Ukraine

Washington’s diplomatic approach to Moscow is justified

US must reopen channels to Russia

If solutions are to be found the two sides must sit down and talk seriously, writes Fiona Hill

Russia weighs on EU’s eastern ambitions

Ukraine war and Crimea annexation force Brussels to go carefully

Nato says Russian nuclear talk irresponsible

Alliance ministers concerned about Crimean threats

Kerry poised to meet Putin in Moscow

Kremlin sees trip as a diplomatic victory for Russia

Russians need ideas for life after Putin

We should engage with the west as equals, not as wards, writes Evgeny Gontmakher