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.

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

Putin takes swipe at US in parade speech

President calls for non-bloc security system during WWII ceremony

West shuns Russia war commemoration

Guest list shows how Russia’s standing has deteriorated

Tales from the wild east

Review of ‘Once Upon a Time in Russia’, by Ben Mezrich

Moscow aims for Chinese financing

Agreement on debt mechanism to be signed by Xi and Putin

Gazprom announces Turkish pipeline deal

Project follows collapse of South Stream scheme

Putin and Xi: not quite allies they seem

The Russia-China summit will be stronger on show than substance

Russia rattles sabres in eastern Ukraine

Border tension points to Moscow’s efforts to deter Kiev’s westward ambitions and dodge Donbass bill

Russia offers China bigger energy stakes

Kremlin seeks Chinese investors amid low oil prices and sanctions

Moscow shows military mettle in WWII parade

Display of cutting-edge weapons sends message about intent

Anniversary message from west to Russia

The Soviet role in the defeat of Nazism must never be forgotten

Sanoma sells stake in Vedomosti of Russia

Deal comes after country passes law limiting foreign media ownership

Gunvor’s operating profits up 20%

Commodity trader looks to sell Russian assets

Chechnya’s recovery tested by slowdown

Grozny is having to cope with a drop in federal funding

Rusal battles with LME on aluminium price

Speculators have distorted market metal producer claims