Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Russia, on October 7, 1952. He grew up with his family in a communal apartment, attending the local grammar and high schools, where he developed an interest in sports. After graduating from Leningrad State University with a law degree in 1975, Putin began his career in the KGB as an intelligence officer. Stationed mainly in East Germany, he held that position until 1990, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Upon returning to Russia, Putin held an administrative position at the University of Leningrad, and after the fall of communism in 1991 became an adviser to liberal politician Anatoly Sobchak. When Sobchak was elected mayor of Leningrad later that year, Putin became his head of external relations, and by 1994, Putin had become Sobchak’s first deputy mayor.