Vladimir Putin was shaped through death and poverty as he journeyed from a rat-infested home to becoming the President of Russia.
His path to become the Russian leader began in a poor apartment in Leningrad as his family shared it with dozens of hungry rats.
Putin's parents Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin and Maria Shelomova lost two boys before he was born.
One died as an infant and the other was one when he died of diphtheria, which made the couple very protective of Putin.
Putin’s childhood started with him and several young pals from the apartment building harassing rats before he began to study their behaviour after he was attacked.
As a youngster, Putin would chase rats and try back them into a corner but on one occasion the rat rose to the challenge.
According to Putin’s official biography First Person, he revealed a “huge rat” he chased into a corner suddenly turned around and attacked him.
Putin said: “Once I spotted a huge rat and pursued it down the hall until I drove it into a corner. It had nowhere to run.
"Suddenly it lashed around and threw itself at me. I was surprised and frightened. Now the rat was chasing me."
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A young Putin also showed a rebellious side in the classroom at school with reports of bad behaviour and even ignoring his lessons.
According to ABC, Putin was a “little monster” after popular Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda got hold of the leaders’ old grade books.
The books, believed to be from when Putin was 11, showed traits of disruptive and disrespectful behaviour.
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On one occasion he “behaved badly in singing class” and “threw chalkboard erasers at the children."
It also revealed that Putin got in repeated fights with his gym teacher during 1963-64.
His father was also called in that year after he got into a fight with a boy older than him.
Komsomolskaya Pravda said Putin did not care for many classes except for history, with a particular love for German.
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His text books were also covered in German notes and flashcards of the language were found in a chemistry book.
The New York Post described Putin’s early years as living the life of a “typical Russian hooligan”.
However, things began to change and his unruly behaviour turned to excellence as a star pupil.
Reports by The Los Angeles Times say Piton’s high school days were a significant improvement and led to him getting into a school for the gifted.
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From there he moved to law school before turning his brains to espionage by joining Russia's infamous KGB.
Putin later admitted himself that he wanted to join the organisation from an early age and it was "based on romantic stories about spies".
He reportedly offered his services to KGB headquarters prior to law school but was told to go graduate, which he did in 1975.
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Putin joined the KGB, where he reportedly excelled and led him to being moved to East Germany for intelligence work.
German biographer Boris Reitschuster told the BBC that Putin "enjoyed very much this little paradise for him" in the country before he resigned from active duty following the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
In 1990, Putin made his steps into politics as an advisor on international affairs to the mayor of Leningrad Anatoly Sobchak.
His rise continued alongside President Boris Yeltsin as he was given several senior roles as part of the Moscow administration.
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In 1999, Putin was made acting Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation by President Yeltsin.
Just a year later, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned leaving Putin to lead as acting president before winning the next election with 53% of the vote after revealing a new direction for Russia new direction through his "Millennium Manifesto".
He has since managed four terms as president of Russia as he faces a tough few years with support in Russia waving due to his invasion of Ukraine.
Following his invasion, he accused Ukraine officials of being "neo-Nazis" and stated the country was made by Russia.
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He said: "“I’ll start with the fact that modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia, more precisely, Bolshevik, communist Russia.
"This process began almost immediately after the revolution of 1917, and Lenin and his associates did it in a very rude way towards Russia itself – by separating, tearing away from it part of its own historical territories.
"Of course, no one asked about anything to the millions of people who lived there.”
A number of protests across Russia have taken place against the invasion with many people arrested as a result.
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