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Putin's Moscow Career


In 1996 Sobchak was voted out of office, and Putin went too, resigning. But his bossís defeat set the stage for Putinís move to Moscow, where he suddenly got onto a remarkably fast career track through the ranks of the Kremlin bureaucracy. First occupying the position of deputy to the powerful Pavel Borodin, the Kremlinís estates manager, he was then named deputy chief of the presidential administration in charge of relations with Russiaís diverse regions. This position offered Putin unique influence over regional leaders who were tainted with corruption.

Vladimir Putin and Boris Yeltsin

In 1998 Putin was promoted to chief of the secret police, the Federal Security Service (better known by its Russian acronym FSB), which was the successor to the KGBís Second Chief Directorate (internal security).

By mid-1999 Putin rose to become one of the most powerful men in the Kremlin Ė in a quiet, behind-the-scenes way. He performed his tasks, as he had already done in St. Petersburg under Sobchak, as efficiently and discreetly as possible, without a sign of political ambition of his own and in complete loyalty to his superiors. Yeltsin was impressed with Putinís cold efficiency and entrusted him with the most sensitive missions.

In early 1999 he was made secretary of the Security Council, the powerful advisory body that coordinates the activities of Russiaís armed forces, security agencies, and police. Putin was instrumental in the firing of Prosecutor General Yury Skuratov, who had authorized the investigations into members of Yeltsinís inner circle for corrupt activities. His extreme loyalty and great energy must have finally convinced Yeltsin that he found in Putin a suitable successor. In early August 1999 Putin was made prime minister and was ďofficiallyĒ named by Yeltsin heir apparent to the presidency.

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