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The inauguration of Vladimir Putin. | Presidential Press and Information Office

The inauguration of Vladimir Putin. | Presidential Press and Information Office

March 14, 2022

From the KGB to the Presidency: Vladimir Putin's Rise


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The war in Ukraine is the making of one man: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. He is now in his third decade of ruling Russia, time often marked by cooperation with the West, but more often by antagonism and confrontation. Lisa Desjardins charts Putin’s rise and reign.

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Discussion Questions: How Did Putin Rise to Power?

  • Who is Vladimir Putin, and what is his background?
  • When did Putin come to power in Russia?
  • What is the KGB, and what role did it serve in Russia’s history?
  • How did Putin’s background in the KGB influence his approach as leader of Russia, according to this piece?
  • Why has Putin’s background and philosophy led to his decision to invade Ukraine, according to this piece?

Focus Questions

Based on this short bio, why do you think Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine? What else might have been a factor besides his personal decision-making?

Media literacy: What else would you need to know to understand the current conflict in Ukraine? How could you find out?

Understanding the War in Ukraine

Learn more about the crisis unfolding in Ukraine with resources we've gathered on this developing topic.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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