In any society, there will be those who wield more power than others. In a dictatorship, that power is concentrated in the hands of one person - the dictator. This person can rule with an iron fist, or use more subtle methods to keep control over the population. Whatever the case may be, a dictatorship is not a democracy, and the people living under it have few rights. Let's take a closer look at what a dictatorship is, and some of the famous dictators who have ruled over their countries.
What It's Like to Live in a Dictatorship-Ruled Country
A clear and considerable power imbalance exists in dictatorships. All of the country's power is held by one individual. As a result, the entire country is run by that one person's whims. A dictator may have a team of officials who advise him or her and assist in administering the government, but these officials have very little power or influence. Similarly, ordinary citizens in a dictatorship have no say in most affairs. The despot has complete power. From the outside, life in a dictatorship appears to be similar to being in an unhealthy relationship or living arrangement. Many people in long-running dictatorships like North Korea and Cameroon, on the other hand, have never known anything other, thus living under a dictatorship is far less jarring and shocking to them. People who have the benefit of looking in on dictatorships perceive them as far more severe and unethical.
Dictatorships in Five Forms
There are many types of dictatorships, and they can vary drastically in terms of how the people living under them are treated. However, there are five general types of dictatorships that you're likely to come across. Here's a look at each one, and what you can expect if you find yourself living under one.
Military dictatorship: Military might is used to gain and keep power. The military seizes power in a country (usually through a direct coup), installs a dictator of its choosing (usually the highest-ranking military officer), and maintains rule through use of arms.
Monarchies: Power is accumulated and passed down through families. Autocracy, monarchy, and dictatorship are all examples.
Personalistic dictatorships: The leader may have the support of a political party or the military, but he or she retains the majority of authority, particularly over who is appointed to certain government positions, and relies mainly on their own charisma to keep control. Leaders of these dictatorships frequently place loyalists in positions of authority (qualified or not) and cultivate personality cults to affect public opinion. They frequently use secret police and brutality to stifle critics, as do most dictators.
Single-party dictatorships: Also known as one-party states or dominant party dictatorships. There may be multiple political parties, but one dominates the government, determines all the regulations, is free to spread propaganda, and controls every facet of every election (which may only offer voters a single candidate), insuring them victory every time. These are the longest-lasting dictatorships after authoritarian monarchies, as they can more readily install a new dictator if the current one leaves office (unusual) or dies.
Hybrid dictatorships: combine elements of the other four categories. Examples include Pakistan's Personalist/Military dictatorship from 1977 to 1988 and El Salvador's Single-Party/Military hybrid from 1948 to 1984.
List of Famous Dictators
This list of the world's most significant and well-known dictators is based on their relevance and renown. From vicious dictators (many of whom are regarded as the worst dictators in history) to lesser-known tinpot dictators.
Dec. at 56 (1889-1945)
a Nazi politician and leader (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP). In 1933, he became Chancellor, and in 1934, Führer. During his reign from 1933 to 1945, he invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.
He was highly involved in military activities during the war and helped execute the Holocaust. Hitler grew up in Austria, then part of Austria-Hungary. He moved to Germany in 1913 and was honored for his service in the German Army during WWI. He joined the DAP, the NSDAP's forerunner, in 1919 and became its leader in 1921.
In a failed coup in Munich in 1923, he was jailed. Hitler wrote the first book of Mein Kampf, his autobiography and political manifesto, in prison. After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by condemning the Treaty of Versailles and advocating Pan-Germanism, anti-semitism, and anti-communism.
He frequently accused global capitalism and communism of being Jewish plots. To form a majority legislative coalition for a candidate for chancellor, the Nazi Party had the most seats in the German Reichstag by November 1932, but no majority. Hitler was appointed Chancellor by President Paul von Hindenburg on January 30, 1933.
Shortly after, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act of 1933, transforming the Weimar Republic into a one-party dictatorship based on National Socialism's totalitarian and tyrannical doctrine. Hitler planned to deport Jews from Germany and build a New System to combat the injustices of the post-World War I international order led by Britain and France. With the loosening of post-World War I restrictions on Germany and annexation of regions occupied by millions of ethnic Germans, Hitler gained public support in his first six years in office.
Hitler desired Lebensraum for the German people in Eastern Europe, and his aggressive foreign policy is widely blamed for Europe's WWII. On September 1, 1939, he attacked Poland, provoking Britain and France to declare war on Germany. Hitler attacked the USSR in June 1941.
By the end of 1941, the Axis powers had captured much of Europe and North Africa. These advantages rapidly eroded after 1941, and the Allies defeated the German army in 1945. During the Battle of Berlin in 1945, he married his longtime lover Eva Braun.
They committed themselves less than two days later, on April 30, 1945, to avoid being caught by the Red Army. Hitler's leadership and racially driven worldview resulted in the murder of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victims.
Hitler and the Nazi regime are thought to have killed 19.3 million civilians and POWs. Also, 28,7 million combatants and civilians died in war action throughout Europe. The amount of civilians killed in WWII was unmatched in warfare, making it the worst ever. Hitler's actions and ideas were widely condemned. "Never in history has one man's name brought such physical and moral ruination," argues historian Ian Kershaw.
Dec. at 74 (1878-1953)
From the mid-1920s until 1953, he was Premier of the Soviet Union (1941–1953) and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952).
By the 1930s, he was de facto dictator after leading a collective administration as first among equals. Lenin's view of Marxism was formalized as Marxism–Leninism, while Stalin's personal actions became known as Stalinism.
The youthful Stalin joined the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in Gori, Russia's Empire (now Georgia). Lenin's Bolshevik faction employed thefts, kidnappings, and protection rackets to raise funds. He was frequently arrested and deported. A year after the Bolsheviks gained power during the 1917 October Revolution, Stalin joined Lenin's newly renamed Communist Party's Politburo.
Stalin came to power in 1924 after serving in the Russian Civil War and seeing the Soviet Union's creation in 1922. Stalin's party creed included "Socialism in One Country." The Five-Year Plans led to agricultural collectivisation and fast industrialisation, resulting in a centralised command economy. This led to significant food production disruptions, contributing to the 1932–33 famine. Soviet leader Stalin conducted a purge between 1934 and 1939 targeting "working-class opponents." There were almost a million prisoners and 700,000 executions.
By 1937, he had ultimate control of the party and the state. During the Spanish Civil War, Stalin's regime promoted Marxism–Leninism through the Communist International. It agreed to non-aggression with Nazi Germany in 1939, leading to the Soviet invasion of Poland.
The alliance ended with Germany's 1941 invasion of the USSR. Surviving numerous setbacks, the Soviet Union's Red Army captured Berlin in 1945, officially ending World War II. For example, the Soviet Union helped construct socialist governments in Central and Eastern Europe, China and North Korea. The conflict made the USSR and the US superpowers. It started with tensions between the US-backed Eastern and West blocs.
Postwar reconstruction under Stalin includes the creation of a nuclear weapon in 1949. There was another catastrophic famine during these years, and an anti-Semitic campaign resulted in the physicians' plan. Stalin died in 1953, and his successor, Nikita Khrushchev, began de-Stalinizing Soviet society.
Stalin was idolized by the international Marxist–Leninist movement as a defender of the working class and socialism. He was recognized as one of the twentieth century's most notable figures. Stalin, a successful wartime leader who developed the Soviet Union into a great world power, has maintained popularity in Russia and Georgia since 1991.
His totalitarian regime was highly criticized for massive repressions, ethnic cleansing, deportations, hundreds of thousands of executions, and mass famines.
Dec. at 82 (1893-1976)
Chairman Mao, often known as Mao Zedong, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who led the Communist Party of China from 1949 to 1976. Maoism encompasses his religious, military, and political ideals. He was a Marxist. A wealthy peasant family raised Mao in Shaoshan, Hunan.
He was a Chinese nationalist and anti-imperialist early in his life, influenced by the 1911 Xinhai Revolution and the 1919 May Fourth Movement. In 1927, while working at Peking University, he became a Marxist–Leninist and joined the Chinese Communist Party (CPC).
Mao helped build the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, managed the Jiangxi Soviet's radical land policy, and led the CPC throughout the Long March. However, once Japan surrendered, China's civil war continued, and Mao's forces ousted the Nationalist government in 1949, forcing it to flee to Taiwan. On October 1, 1949, Mao formed the PRC, a one-party state ruled by the CPC.
Land reforms and a psychological victory in the Korean War followed, as did operations against landowners, "counter-revolutionaries," and other perceived state opponents. In 1957, he launched the Great Leap Forward plan, aimed at rapidly industrializing China's economy. Between 1958 and 1962, this attempt killed 20–45 million people.
A decade-long drive to rid Chinese society of "counter-revolutionary" forces, the Cultural Revolution saw violent class warfare, widespread destruction of cultural artefacts, and unparalleled elevation of Mao's cult of personality. The PRC has since labeled the program a "major setback." Mao invited US President Richard Nixon to Beijing in 1972, beginning a policy of opening China to the world.
Mao died aged 82 years old from a series of heart attacks following years of ill health. Party Chairman Hua Guofeng succeeded him as supreme leader, but Deng Xiaoping quickly degraded him. Despite his controversial nature, Mao is considered one of the most significant leaders in modern history. He's a poet, a political thinker, and a military strategist.
His supporters credit him with driving out imperialism, modernizing and developing China into a worldwide power, expanding women's rights, improving education and health care, and extending life expectancy while China's population rose from 550 million to over 900 million. His regime, on the other hand, has been accused of mass persecution and the destruction of religious and cultural landmarks. It also caused between 30 and 70 million fatalities through famine, prison labour, and mass executions.
Dec. at 61 (1883-1945)
From 1922 until 1943, he was Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy. Mussolini, as dictator of Italy and founder of fascism, influenced Adolf Hitler. Mussolini was a journalist and politician who sat on the PSI's National Directorate from 1910 to 1914 before being expelled for opposing military engagement in WWI.
Mussolini served in the Royal Italian Army until 1917, when he was injured and released. It was Mussolini who renounced the PSI and founded the fascist movement, which condemned egalitarianism and class strife in favor of "revolutionary nationalism" that transcended class.
After the October 1922 March on Rome, Mussolini became the youngest Italian Prime Minister. Mussolini and his supporters strengthened their control by enacting laws that banned strikes and eliminated all political opposition. Mussolini intended to build a totalitarian state and became dictator in five years through legal and exceptional tactics. With the Lateran Treaty, Mussolini ended decades of dispute between the Italian state and the Papacy, and recognized Vatican City's autonomy. Mussolini's foreign strategy aimed to expand Italian fascism's reach. In retaliation for the murder of an Italian officer, he ordered the bombing of Corfu in 1923.
Mussolini combined Eritrea, Somalia, and Ethiopia in 1936 after the Abyssinian crisis and the Second Italo–Ethiopian War. Italian troops invaded Albania in 1939. Between 1936 and 1939, Mussolini ordered a successful Italian military intervention in favor of Francisco Franco. Mussolini's Italy also took part in the Stresa front, the Lytton Report, the Lausanne Treaty, the Four-Power Pact, and the Munich Agreement to prevent a second global war. Italians alienated Britain and France by joining the axis powers (Germany, Japan).
On September 1, 1939, Germany attacked Poland, provoking war declarations from France and the UK. On June 10, 1940, Italy officially entered the war, seizing southern France, Corsica, and Tunisia. Mussolini planned to use Italian soldiers to attack the British Empire in Africa and the Middle East once the UK lost Europe.
The Italians invaded British Somaliland and attacked Egypt. As a result, plans for an invasion of the UK were never carried out, and the conflict continued. To start the Greco-Italian War, Mussolini sent troops into Greece in October 1940.
It was the British air force that halted an Italian invasion, forcing them back into Albania. The Balkan campaign lasted until the Axis occupied Greece and Yugoslavia. Due to the German invasion of the USSR and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Mussolini had to send an Italian army to Russia and declare war. Mussolini knew that Italy's resources had been exhausted by the 1930s conflicts, yet he chose to stay in the conflict rather than abandon fascist imperial objectives. In February 1943, the Red Army crushed the Italian Army in Russia, and in May, the Axis in North Africa surrendered, despite Italian resistance at the second battle of El Alamein.
The Anglo-Americans invaded Sicily on July 9, and the German summer offensive in the USSR failed on July 16. As a result, the Grand Council of Fascism voted against Mussolini early on July 25, and the King removed him as Prime Minister and arrested him, replacing him with Pietro Badoglio.
German paratroopers and Waffen-SS commandos led by Major Otto-Harald Mors liberated Mussolini from captivity on September 12, 1943. Adolf Hitler put Mussolini in charge of the Italian Social Republic (RSI), commonly known as the Sal Republic, a puppet administration in northern Italy, after meeting with him. After attempting to flee to Switzerland in late April 1945, Mussolini and Clara Petacci were captured by Italian communist fighters and executed by firing squad near Lake Como on April 28.
His body was then moved to Milan, where it was found upside down at a gas station.
Dec. at 72 (1925-1998)
From 1976 until 1979, he led Democratic Kampuchea, which encompassed Cambodia. From 1963 to 1997, he led the Khmer Rouge and served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea. He was a Khmer nationalist and a Marxist. Born in Prek Sbauv, French Cambodia, Pol Pot attended several of Cambodia's top schools.
In the 1940s, he moved to Paris, France, where he joined the French Communist Party and adopted Marxism–Leninism, especially as espoused by Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. In 1953, he returned to Cambodia to fight against King Norodom Sihanouk's newly independent government.
A teacher by profession, Pol Pot returned to Phnom Penh in 1954 when the Khmer Vit Minh fled to Marxist–Leninist-controlled North Vietnam. In 1959, he helped found the Kampuchean Labour Party, afterwards renamed the Communist Party of Kampuchea. He became party secretary in 1960. After fleeing to a forest encampment in Viet Cng, he traveled to Hanoi and Beijing to support China during the Sino-Soviet split. In 1968, he re-entered the Cambodian conflict.
North Vietnamese troops helped Pol Pot expand his control over all of Cambodia by 1975. Pol Pot created Democratic Kampuchea, a one-party state. His government forcibly relocated urban residents to rural collective farms to build an agrarian communist society. Opponents of the new regime were executed. Between 1.5 and 2 million individuals were executed in these mass executions, which were accompanied by famine, tough labor conditions, and poor medical care.
Dissatisfied with Pol Pot's rule, Marxist–Leninists urged Vietnamese engagement. Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in December 1978 after Pol Pot assaulted Vietnamese communities, toppling his regime in 1979 The Vietnamese deposed Pol Pot and renamed the country the People's Republic of Kampuchea.
Forcibly relocated to a bush camp near the Thai border. Until 1993, they were members of a coalition recognized as Cambodia's legitimate government. The Ta Mok faction kept Pol Pot under house imprisonment until 1998, when he died by suicide. Pol Pot was a socialist who battled against Vietnamese imperialism. He got Chinese support to counter Soviet predominance in the region. For his role in the Cambodian genocide, he is universally condemned as a totalitarian tyrant guilty of crimes against humanity.
Kim Jong-il (김정일)
Dec. at 70 (1941-2011)
Second North Korean leader. He ruled from 1994 till his death in 2011. He was an unelected king accused of human rights abuses.
Kim climbed through the ranks of the DPRK party and army to become the country's heir apparent in the early 1980s. Kim Il-sung succeeded his father Kim Il-sung in 1994. Mr. Kim was the WPK General Secretary, Chairman of the NDC, and Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Force (KPA), the world's fourth-largest standing army.
Under Kim, the country was starving and had a poor human rights record. This policy enmeshed his country in state terrorism and bolstered the military's power. During Kim's leadership, the Kaesong Industrial Park opened in 2003.
The North Korean constitution was amended in April 2009 to make him the "supreme leader of the DPRK." The most common moniker for Kim was "Dear Leader," after his father, Kim Il-sung, the "Great Leader." After missing key public events in 2008, foreign observers assumed Kim had died or was very ill. According to the North Korean authorities, he died two days prior, and his third son, Kim Jong-un, was assigned to a top post in the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK).
After his death, Kim was appointed "Eternal General Secretary" of the WPK and "Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission" in keeping with Kim dynasty tradition.
Saddam Hussein (صدام حسين عبد المجيد التكريتي)
Dec. at 69 (1937-2006)
He was Iraq's President from July 16, 1979 to April 9, 2003. As a major member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, later the Baghdad Ba'ath Party, and its regional organization, the Iraqi Ba'ath Party, Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup (after dubbed the 17 July Revolution) that brought the party to power in Iraq.
As vice president under the sick General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, Saddam formed security forces to carefully regulate tensions between the administration and the military forces. After the Iran–Iraq War, the Gulf War, and UN sanctions, Saddam Hussein nationalized oil and foreign banking in the early 1970s. A decade of rapid economic growth enhanced Saddam's influence over the Iraqi government machinery.
Sunni Arabs, a minority of only 5% of the population, dominated government. Saddam Hussein became Iraq's de facto leader in 1979 after years of de facto rule. During the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War, he suppressed several Shi'a and Kurdish factions seeking to topple or gain independence. While some Arabs hailed Saddam for battling the US and attacking Israel, his government's savagery was unanimously condemned.
Saddam's security forces killed an estimated 250,000 Iraqis in purges and genocides. Saddam's invasions of Iran and Kuwait killed hundreds of thousands. He was dubbed "Baghdad's Butcher." After the US-led coalition overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003, President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair falsely accused him of having WMD and connections to al-Qaeda.
Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party was disbanded and elections held. In December 2003, the Iraqi Interim Government tried Saddam Hussein. An Iraqi court judged Saddam Hussein guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to death by hanging on November 5, 2006. He died on December 30, 2006.
Age: 98 born 21 February 1924
A former Prime Minister and President of Zimbabwe from 1987 to 2017. From 1975 to 1980, he led the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), and from 1980 until 2017, he led the ZANU–Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF).
In the 1970s and 1980s, he identified as a Marxist–Leninist, but only as a socialist after the 1990s. His policies are defined by Mugabeism. Mugabe grew up in a poor Shona family in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia. Kutama College and the University of Fort Hare trained him to teach in Southern, Northern, and Ghana.
Mugabe became a Marxist and joined African nationalist marches calling for an independent black majority state to replace the British Empire territory of Southern Rhodesia. He was imprisoned from 1964 to 1974 for uttering anti-government statements. After his release, he proceeded to Mozambique, where he led ZANU in the Rhodesian Bush War, which fought Ian Smith's predominantly white government against ZANU. He reluctantly took part in the Lancaster House Agreement-mediated peace talks.
The settlement ended the war and helped Mugabe's ZANU-PF win the 1980 national election. Despite his stated Marxist ambition for a communist society, Mugabe's administration improved healthcare and education in Zimbabwe. Mugabe's attempts at racial reconciliation failed, and relations with Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU) soured. During the Gukurahundi in 1982–1985, Mugabe's Fifth Brigade massacred ZAPU-linked resistance in Matabeleland, murdering at least 10,000 Ndebele civilians.
On the international scene, he led the Non-Aligned Movement (1986–89), the Organisation of African Unity (1997–98), and the African Union (2015–16). Mugabe stressed the decolonisation process's redistribution of white farmers' land to landless blacks, initially on a "willing seller–willing buyer" basis. He forced black Zimbabweans to take white-owned farms starting in 2000, frustrated by delayed redistribution.
Food shortages led to famine, economic collapse, and international sanctions. Mugabe was re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2013. Voter fraud, violence, and patriotic appeals to his rural Shona base characterized his campaigns I
In 2017, his own party removed him and replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for nearly four decades, is a polarizing figure. African liberation hero who helped free Zimbabwe from British colonialism, imperialism, and white minority control His critics charge him with mismanagement, massive corruption, anti-white racism, human rights abuses, and crimes against humanity.
Kim Jong-un (김정은)
Age: 39 born 8 January 1983 or 1984
A North Korean politician. Since 2011, he has been Supreme Leader of North Korea and Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea. From 1952 to 2004, Kim was the second child of Kim Jong-il (1941–2011), the country's second leader (1994–2011), and Ko Yong-hui (1952–2004). His grandfather was Kim Il-sung, North Korea's first leader from 1948 to 1994.
Kim is the world's second-youngest leader and the first North Korean leader born after the country's founding. He has been seen as the DPRK's heir apparent since late 2010, and after the elder Kim died, official television dubbed him the "Great Successor." Mr. Kim serves as First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea from 2012 to 2016, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Commander-in-Chief (as Chairman of the State Affairs Commission).
As Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Kim was made Marshal of North Korea in the Korean People's Army on July 18, 2012. The North Korean official media refer to him as "the Marshal" or "Dear Respected." Forbes magazine named Kim the 46th most powerful person in the world in 2013, behind Ban Ki-moon and Lee Kun-hee.
Jang Song-execution for "treason" Kim ordered on December 12, 2013. Kim Jong-nam, Kim's half-brother, was murdered in Malaysia in February 2017. Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in met three times in 2018: once in Panmunjom and twice in Pyongyang. On June 12, 2018, Kim and Trump met in Singapore for the first time to discuss North Korea's nuclear program. A follow-up meeting in Hanoi in February 2019 ended without agreement.
Kim and Putin met for the first time on April 25 in Vladivostok. On June 30, 2019, Kim met with both Moon Jae-in and Trump at the Korean Demilitarized Zone.
Dec. at 72 (1917-1989)
was the ninth President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, and was a Filipino politician and kleptocrat. From 1972 until 1981, he governed as a dictator under martial law as a key member of the far-right New Society Movement. His administration was known for its corruption, luxury, and cruelty. Marcos claimed to have fought alongside the Americans in the Bataan Death March and to be the "most decorated combat hero in the Philippines" during WWII.
A number of his statements were determined to be incorrect, and Marcos' wartime claims were branded as "fraudulent" and "absurd" in US Army documents. From 1949 to 1959, Marcos worked as an attorney before serving in the Philippine House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate from 1959 to 1965.
He was elected President in 1965 and presided over a rising economy for the first half of his 20-year term, but his presidency culminated in job losses, extreme poverty, and a crippling debt problem. On September 23, 1972, Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines, revising the constitution, silencing the media, and using brutality and tyranny against political opponents, Muslims, communists, and ordinary residents.
During the Philippine Martial Law referendum in 1973, 90.77 percent of voters approved martial law, despite the referendum being clouded by controversy. The killing of Benigno Aquino Jr. and the subsequent economic collapse in 1983, combined with the opposition's better-than-expected victory in the 1984 Philippine parliamentary election, resulted in the 1986 emergency elections.
Allegations of widespread cheating, political unrest, and human rights violations prompted the People Power Revolution, which ousted him from power in February 1986. Marcos was persuaded by US President Ronald Reagan through Senator Paul Laxalt to "cut and cut cleanly" to prevent a military clash in Manila between pro- and anti-Marcos troops, after which Marcos escaped to Hawaii. Corazon "Cory" Aquino, the widow of deceased opposition leader Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., was elected to succeed Marcos.
The Marcos family plundered $5–10 billion, according to source papers released by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). The PCGG further claimed that between 1965 and 1986, the Marcos family lived a lavish lifestyle, stealing billions of dollars from the Philippines. The term "Imeldific" was coined by his wife Imelda Marcos, whose excesses during the couple's conjugal dictatorship made her famous in her own right. Imee Marcos and Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., two of their offspring, are still involved in Philippine politics.
Vladimir Putin (Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин)
Age: 69 born 7 October 1952
is the President of Russia since 2012, having previously served from 2000 to 2008. He served as Prime Minister of Russia under President Dmitry Medvedev in between his presidential mandates. Putin was born in the Russian SFSR city of Leningrad. He earned his law degree from Leningrad State University in 1975.
Putin worked with the KGB for 16 years as a foreign intelligence officer, attaining to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring in 1991 to pursue politics in Saint Petersburg. In 1996, he relocated to Moscow and joined President Boris Yeltsin's cabinet, first as director of the FSB, the KGB's successor agency, and subsequently as Prime Minister. When Boris Yeltsin resigned on December 31, 1999, he became Acting President.
The Russian economy rose for eight years in a row under his leadership, and GDP measured in buying power surged by 72 percent. The commodities boom of the 2000s, recovery from the post-Communist depression and financial crises, and smart economic and fiscal policies all contributed to the expansion. Putin stated in September 2011 that he will seek a third term as president. He received 64 percent of the vote in the presidential election in March 2012. Falling oil prices, combined with international sanctions imposed in early 2014 in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Eastern Ukraine, caused the Russian economy to contract by 3.7 percent in 2015.
However, the Russian economy rebounded in 2016 with 0.3 percent GDP growth, and the recession was officially over. Putin was re-elected in March 2018 with 76 percent of the vote for a six-year term that would finish in 2024. Under Putin's leadership, Russia has performed poorly in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index and has experienced democratic backsliding, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index and Freedom House's Freedom in the World index (including a record low 20/100 rating in the 2017 Freedom in the World report, a rating not given since the Soviet Union's collapse).
Purges and imprisonment of political opponents, limited press freedom, and a lack of free and fair elections are among the reasons why experts do not consider Russia to be a democracy. Human rights groups and activists have accused Putin of prosecuting political opponents and activists, as well as ordering their torture or assassination; he has denied the allegations.
Officials from the US government have accused him of orchestrating a campaign of disinformation against Hillary Clinton in order to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election, an accusation that both Trump and Putin have repeatedly refuted and ridiculed.
The dictator's identification with a single mass party and the party's charismatic leader, the use of an official ideology to legitimize and maintain the regime, the use of a terroristic police force and a tightly controlled press, and the use of all modern science and technology to control the economy and individual behavior.
During times of domestic or foreign crises in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, most constitutional regimes granted emergency powers to the government, suspending constitutional protections of individual rights and liberties or proclaiming martial law. Indeed, numerous Western democracies constitutions explicitly provided for the president to be granted emergency powers in times of crisis to maintain the constitutional order. Of course, in many situations, similar measures have been the means by which tyrants have overthrown regimes. As a result, the declaration of emergency rule marked the start of dictatorships.