Who is Vladimir Putin, the Russian president and ex-KGB officer?

Russian President Vladimir Putin was born in Leningrad, now modern-day St. Petersburg, on Oct. 7, 1952.

He grew up in a communal apartment and his father was a factory foreman. Putin graduated from Leningrad State University in 1975 with a law degree and joined the KGB -- the main security agency operating at the behest of the Soviet Union, where he became a Soviet intelligence officer.

In 1983, he married Lyudmilla and the couple had two daughters together. They were later divorced in 2013.

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Putin was stationed in East Germany for much of the late 1980s and began working for his alma mater in 1990.

In 1996, Putin moved to Moscow and started working for the Russian government under President Boris Yeltsin. He became the head of the Federal Security Service (FSS), the successor agency to the KGB, in 1998. One year later, Putin became the acting prime minister under Yeltsin's administration. Just a few months later, Yeltsin stepped down from his position and Putin became the acting president of Russia.

Since winning the presidential election in 2000, Putin has remained Russia's dominant political figure, tightening control over the media, marginalizing his party's opposition, and adopting a nationalist and anti-Western course for decades.

He was reelected in 2004 and vacated the presidency in 2008 due to term limits, but became prime minister by his successor Dmitry Medvedev. He won the presidential election again in 2012. Two years later he annexed Crimea from Ukraine.

President Trump's relationship with Putin has repeatedly come under scrutiny since Trump's election to the White House, especially after Special Counsel Robert Mueller embarked on a two-year probe to investigate potential collusion between Trump's campaign associates and the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

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Further questions arose about their unusual alliance when House Democrats launched an investigation into potential impropriety of a phone call between Trump and the leader of Ukraine, in which they alleged Trump attempted to pressure the Ukrainian president to launch an investigation into 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden in exchange for foreign military aid. Despite the probe leading to Trump's impeachment in the House of Representatives, and then subsequent acquittal in the Senate, reports swirled that Trump peddled the theory of Ukrainian election meddling at the behest of Putin.

The friendly alliance has caused lawmakers to bristle at Trump's refusal to explicitly acknowledge Russia's role in breaching American election security systems, despite data from intelligence officials proving they did so.