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The Moment that Made Putin

Vladimir Putin, then a KGB agent, was caught up in dramatic events as East Germany collapsed. Chris Bowlby explores how this experience shaped Putin's career and behaviour today.

Vladimir Putin, then a KGB agent, was caught up in dramatic events as East Germany collapsed. He saw crowds take control as communist power collapsed, and had to defend his KGB office in Dresden as demonstrators tried to break in. Chris Bowlby explores how this experience shaped Putin's career and behaviour today - his determination to restore Russian power, his fear of demonstrations, his sense of the power of nationalism.

We learn too about the network of colleagues and friends he began to assemble in Germany and how it aided his rise to power and wealth. And we discover the quirkier side of Putin's love of German order and his enthusiasm for German beer, cake and Western consumer gadgets. Understanding Putin is more vital than ever given current events in Europe. The story of his German years reveals much about where his strongest ambitions - and deepest fears - come from.

(Photo: Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks with journalists in Itamaraty Palace in Brazilia, 2014. Credit: Alexei Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images)

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