In Photos: Putin Marks 20 Years in Power

Twenty years ago the Russian president Boris Yeltsin appointed his fourth prime minister in less than 18 months: Vladimir Putin, then a relatively unknown security services chief with scant experience of politics. Few could have predicted that two decades later Putin would still be ruling Russia, having taken on a dominant role in world affairs.

But the anniversary comes at a time of uncertainty in the leader’s reign. Putin’s approval ratings remain at a level most western leaders would envy, but they have taken a hit from a stalling economy and declining living standards.

19 August 1999: The Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, (R) shakes hands with his prime minister, Vladimir Putin, during their meeting at the Kremlin

Photograph: Elmira Kozhayeva/AFP/Getty Images

April 2000: Now acting president, Putin wears a navy officer’s uniform while watching the tactical exercises of Russia’s northern fleet in the Barentsevo Sea

Photograph: -/AFP/Getty Images

August 2001: Putin makes a clay pot during his visit to an open air museum in the village of Verkhniye Mondrogi

Photograph: Itar Tass/AP

February 2003: The Italian PM, Silvio Berlusconi, meets Putin at his residence in Zavidovo for dinner and talks on Iraq

Photograph: ITAR-TASS/AP

August 2005: Putin arrives at the Olenogorsk military airport near Murmansk to fly a Tupolev-160 strategic bomber

Photograph: Vladimir Radionov/AFP/Getty Images

August 2005: Putin takes a ride in his 1956 Volga as he attends the opening ceremony of a new 3km-long tunnel in the Krasnodar region

Photograph: Vladimir Radionov/AFP/Getty Images

November 2006: Putin holds a pistol during his visit to a newly built headquarters for the Russian general staff’s main intelligence department (GRU) in Moscow

Photograph: Dmitry Astakhov/AFP/Getty Images

June 2007: Putin visits an agriculture exhibition in Rostov-on-Don

Photograph: Vladimir Radionov/AFP/Getty Images

August 2007: Putin carries a hunting rifle in the Republic of Tuva

Photograph: Dmitry Astakhov/AFP/Getty Images

October 2008: Putin holds a chick at the Golden Autumn agro-industrial exhibition in Moscow

Photograph: Alexey Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images

August 2009: Putin takes a swim during his holiday near the town of Kyzyl in southern Siberia

Photograph: Alexey Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images

August 2009: Putin rides a horse during his holiday in Siberia

Photograph: Alexey Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images

January 2010: President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin enjoy a break from skiing at the Krasnaya Polyana mountain resort


July 2010: Putin rides a Harley Davidson Lehman Trike as he leaves a meeting with bikers at their camp at Gasfort Lake near Sevastopol in Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula

Photograph: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AFP/Getty Images

August 2011: Putin carries artefacts he recovered while diving at an archaeological site off the Taman peninsula

Photograph: RIA Novosti/REUTERS

March 2013: Putin plays with his dogs Buffy and Yume at his residence in Novo-Ogariovo

Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

July 2013: Putin rides in a submersible near Gotland island in the Baltic Sea. The vessel dove to the sea floor to explore a sunken ship

Photograph: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images

August 2015: Putin works out at a gym at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi

Photograph: Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP/Getty Images

May 2016: Putin competes in the NHL veterans ice hockey match in Sochi. His team won 11-5

Photograph: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

August 2017: Putin sunbathes during his holiday in the remote Tuva region in southern Siberia

Photograph: Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images

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