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Vladimir Putin is the president of Russia. Putin is routinely described as a nationalistic leader who some feel is focused upon restoring the former Soviet Union to its status as a world power. Putin has often been photographed emphasizing his manliness while engaged in outdoor pursuits. In May of 2012, Vladimir Putin succeeded Dmitry Medvedev as the Russian president. Putin previously served as president from 2000 to 2008, and as prime minister from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. Putin announced plans for Russia to possess the largest and most powerful military in the world by 2020 during the Crimea, Ukraine, hostilities in during the summer of 2015. Vladimir Putin ordered air strikes to begin in Syria against the desires of the United States during the fall of 2015.