Russian President Boris Yeltsin (right) announced his early resignation as head of state and the temporary transfer of his powers to Prime Minister Putin (left)
As President Boris Yeltsin’s health continued to decline in the late 90s, and the controversies surrounding his leadership became more complex, he appointed Vladimir Putin Prime Minister, just four months before the next election of the Duma in December, 1999. On December 14, Yeltsin, in a private meeting, convinced Putin to accept the Presidency on an interim basis upon Yeltsin’s resignation, which would prove a shock to both Russia and the world. According to Yeltsin, the forty-eight-year-old Putin hesitated, calling it “a rather difficult destiny.” On December 30, Yeltsin resigned and named Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin as acting President of Russia. On March 26, 2000 he went from Acting President to Elected President with 53% of the vote.
Putin taking the oath of office of President of Russia, with retiring President Yeltsin looking on
President Putin has served as leader of Russia for the past twenty-two years, in which time he has transformed that historic nation, reviving their pride in their past heroes and greatness, renewing the power and influence of the Orthodox Church and aspects of Christian ethics on a national scale. He has also influenced Russia as a major exporter of many products necessary for world industry, like oil and natural gas, nickel, platinum, zinc and gold, etc. He has also accumulated many enemies at home and abroad.
President Putin at an Orthodox Christmas service at the Church of the Intercession
of the Most Holy Theotokos in the village of Turginovo
His restoration of pride in Russia’s pre-communist past, refusal to adopt or sanction the depraved cultural mores of the pagan western world, and continued resistance to NATO’s encroachment on the bordering states vital to Russia’s self-defense, has brought him and his nation into conflict with the United States. His willingness to actually act on the consequences of Western imperialists’ backing of the Ukrainian figurehead, has taken east-west relations to a whole new level of outrage. Admire him, hate him, or wonder how providence placed Vladimir Putin in power in the complex and byzantine political leadership of Russia, he will have proven to be one of the most important of historical figures when his western counterparts are irrelevant footnotes at best.
Official Portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, 2012