Name: Vladimir Putin
|Famous For: Two-time President of Russia and former Prime Minister|
Famous For Two-time President of Russia and former Prime Minister
“We shall fight against them, throw them in prisons and destroy them.” Rising through the KGB as an intelligence officer in the Soviet Union after studying law at Saint Petersburg State University, Vladimir Putin became a vital part of the Boris Yeltsin administration in the late 1990s. By 1999, his hard work and dedication paid off when he was named the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. The following year, he resigned from his position when he won the 2000 presidential election.
Thanks to his exceptional leadership during his first term and the growth of the Russian economy, Putin easily won reelection in 2004 but failed to keep his seat for a third consecutive term in 2008 after he lost to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Four years later, Putin sought the presidency once again, reclaimed the position and is still in office today. Now considered one of the most polarizing figures in international politics, the 64-year-old is certainly fascinating in his own right despite the widespread criticism he’s received from his opponents around the world about everything from his policies and mandates to his appearance.
Although people are often quick to judge world leaders for their looks, the position is exceptionally difficult with high levels of stress that take a toll on every leader’s appearance and well-being. In fact, most leaders end up aging rapidly after they’ve been in office for several years. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Putin since he doesn’t look a day older than when he first assumed office on December 31, 1999. That’s quite an accomplishment for someone who’s served as the President of Russia for a combined 13 years.
An obvious exception to the aging-in-office rule, Putin has remained virtually wrinkle-free and well-tanned in recent years; although, that hasn’t always been the case. Putin seemed to have deep wrinkles lining his face as recently as 2010 and dating back to over a decade ago. At the time, he had prominent bags under his eyes but, thanks to recent pictures, it looks like those bags have disappeared. This has led many people outside of Russia to believe that he’s turned to plastic surgery to maintain a youthful appearance with the hopes of staying in power for many years to come.
These rumors took on a life of their own in 2011 when Putin was photographed with a strange bruise on his face while his skin looked glossier and much smoother. Not only that, the wrinkles seen on his face in the previous years were long gone. Since Putin was planning on running for the presidential seat once again in 2012, many felt that he was trying to look more camera-friendly and youthful to get the Russian people on his good side. It obviously worked!
When plastic surgeons and cosmetic experts were consulted about Putin’s changing appearance, most of them agreed that he had a combination facelift and brow lift. In addition, they also noticed signs of Botox injections as well as a blepharoplasty to smooth out his eyes. Of course, media freedom isn’t the same in Russia as it is in the United States so very few tabloids and news outlets could speculate over Putin’s probable time under the knife. But, that isn’t to say the rest of the world couldn’t guess for themselves.
In late 2013, Putin was back in the spotlight when American media went into a frenzy after he vanished for two weeks. While many wondered if he opted for a touch-up, Putin and his cabinet denied any rumors that he had opted for surgery or was sick after he canceled most of his appearances without notice or explanation. Then again, you can’t really expect someone like Putin to own up to getting cosmetic surgery and become the laughingstock of international politics, now can you?
Ironically, Putin isn’t the only one in Kremlin who’s rumored to have gone under the knife as his alleged girlfriend, Alina Kabaeva, has likely turned to plastic surgery as well. Reports say that the much younger, former Olympian has had a facelift over the past year, which has left many to speculate that she and Putin opted for couple’s cosmetic surgery. Criticism of the pair has, in fact, been exceptionally harsh with one of the most ruthless comments reading, “I never thought Botox could be sexually transmitted.” Even for a Russian President, that must hurt a little!
While others are quick to call Putin’s new look “ridiculous” or “bad and obvious,” it hasn’t affected the politician negatively as he won the last election and has set his sights on staying in office until 2024. Perhaps the plastic surgery helped him appear youthful to win over the public or maybe it’s his Achilles heel of vanity. Whatever the case, changing his look might be a power play but, for now, he’s obviously outsmarted his critics as he’s one of the most powerful people in the world.