Putin: The man and his motives - what we know about the Russian dictator

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Vladimir Putin grew up in the ruins of post-war Leningrad - now known as St Petersburg - and from a young age was running with street gangs. His childhood experience was "relatively rough" and left him "constantly looking for security" with an awareness of "actually how dangerous and precarious life can be", said Mark Galeotti, principal director of Mayak Intelligence and a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). He was left wanting to join the "biggest gang in town", and so after he left university he joined the KGB - the security service for the then Soviet Union.