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.

Pope Francis, left, and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill exchange a joint declaration on religious unity at the Jose Marti International airport in Havana, Cuba, Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. The two religious leaders met for the first-ever papal meeting, a historic development in the 1,000-year schism within Christianity. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)

Putin looms over Pope and Patriarch

Russian president a surprising catalyst for rapprochement

Syria is one piece in the Russian jigsaw

Moscow has shown it will not let the west do away with any dictator they dislike, writes Tony Barber

Ingram Pinn illustration
©Ingram Pinn

The sun sets on the petrodollar age

The drop in oil price adds a twist to the forces driving fragmentation and conflict

Rosneft rejects case for oil output cuts

Putin ally questions feasibility of co-ordinated action on crude

United Russia shores up defences

Public mood darkens as economy heads towards second year of recession

Passengers at the railway terminal in the Chinese city of Manzhouli, on the border with Russia
©Davide Monteleone

Russia and China: friends with benefits

As the two nations forge closer ties, will they be able to overcome their frequently fraught history? Kathrin Hille investigates

Hedge funds split over outlook for oil

Prospect of Iran adding to glut vies with chances of cuts

Putin bombs in Syria and talks in Geneva

Russia is using peace summit in Switzerland as a smokescreen for war

Herman Gref, Sberbank’s survivor chief

The head of Russia’s biggest bank on his reform agenda

Russian protest artist sent to psych ward

Activists say institutionalisation of Pavlensky recalls Soviet era

Anger mounts over Moldova bank scandal

EU and Russia tussle for influence amid geopolitical battleground

Economy is a drag on Putin’s ambitions

The only long-term answer to Russia’s woes remains sweeping reform

Kerry signals end of some Russia sanctions

Moscow raises hopes of settling eastern Ukraine dispute

General Igor Sergun, left, was asked by Vladimir Putin to assess whether Bashar al-Assad would be willing to step aside. The answer was an emphatic no
©Getty Images; AFP/Getty Images

Putin pressed Syria’s Assad to step down

Failed gambit entrenched leader and damaged peace prospects

FILE: Inquiry To Report Findings On Alexander Litvinenko Killing...FILE: Inquiry To Report Findings On Alexander Litvinenko Killing LONDON - NOVEMBER 20: In this image made available on November 25, 2006, Alexander Litvinenko is pictured at the Intensive Care Unit of University College Hospital on November 20, 2006 in London, England. The 43-year-old former KGB spy who died on Thursday 23rd November, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin in the involvement of his death. Mr Litvinenko died following the presence of the radioactive polonium-210 in his body. Russia's foreign intelligence service has denied any involvement in the case. (Photo by Natasja Weitsz/Getty Images)

UK criticised over Litvinenko response

Moscow ridicules conclusions based on the word ‘probably’

FILE: Inquiry To Report Findings On Alexander Litvinenko Killing...FILE: Inquiry To Report Findings On Alexander Litvinenko Killing LONDON - NOVEMBER 20: In this image made available on November 25, 2006, Alexander Litvinenko is pictured at the Intensive Care Unit of University College Hospital on November 20, 2006 in London, England. The 43-year-old former KGB spy who died on Thursday 23rd November, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin in the involvement of his death. Mr Litvinenko died following the presence of the radioactive polonium-210 in his body. Russia's foreign intelligence service has denied any involvement in the case. (Photo by Natasja Weitsz/Getty Images)

Litvinenko report points finger at Putin

Former judge concludes Russian state involved in murder

Chechnya’s Kadyrov slams Putin opponents

President’s critics are ‘western lackeys’, Chechen leader says

Only Germany can tame east-west tensions

Hungary, Poland and Slovakia see their way of life under threat from immigrants, writes Tony Barber

Shinzo Abe
©Makoto Okada/Nikkei

Abe calls for engagement with Putin

Japan PM says Russian help crucial to tackling Mideast crises

Russia’s pensioners squeezed by recession

Several regions suspend benefits payouts due to underfunding

Corruption in world athletics ‘embedded’

Probe says problems extend to the top of the governing body

Russia to cut expenditure by 10%

Sliding crude prices have forced the country to redraft budget

Hungary PM is unlikely Cameron ally

Visit to Budapest elicits promise to tackle abuses of benefits system

World economy of so-so growth

Economic and political uncertainties lie in wait for the new year

Russia names Nato as threat to security

New appraisal highlights deterioration in east-west relations

Germany’s gesture on fight against Isis

To be credible, a considerable investment in defence is required, writes Constanze Stelzenmüller

Daniel Pudles illustration
©Daniel Pudles

The whole world is on edge

Not one global power is optimistic and even in America, which should be cheering, the mood is sour

Matt Kenyon illustration
©Matt Kenyon

A hole at the heart of the Syrian crisis

The lack of mainstream Sunni leadership is a blight across the Middle East

Russia and India sign new defence deals

Modi stresses friendship with Putin in nuclear and helicopter pact

Russia orders arrest of Khodorkovsky

Conflict resumes between Kremlin and former oil mogul

Obama accuses Trump of exploiting fears

Republican frontrunner plays on worries of working classes

Beware Russian ally in Syria, says Ukraine

Putin accused of trying to weaken EU resolve with gas deal

Lew hails end to US block on IMF reforms

Barb from Putin aided campaign to win congressional approval

Tusk joins attack on Berlin over pipeline

Germany accused of hypocrisy in backing Nord Stream 2 project

Russian rift pushes Turkey towards Israel

Ankara opens talks on gas pipeline to reduce dependence on Moscow

Illustration for FTWeekend comment - issue dated 19.12.15

We must remember EU’s brutal history

Forgetful, divided union is marred by flashbacks to 20th-century horrors, says Timothy Garton Ash

Star Wars — may the bores be with you

‘No one thinks your Yoda impressions are funny. In fact, avoid quoting Star Wars lines generally’

UN backs move to squeeze Isis finances

US-Russian plan adopted as search for political deal intensifies

Putin warns Russians over belt tightening

President praises Trump but continues verbal sparring with Turkey

Why we must keep faith in Ukraine

The largest country in Europe must not fall back under Moscow’s sway, writes Tim Judah

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