When did he join the KGB?

The Week (US) - - News 11 -

In 1975, af­ter study­ing law at Len­ingrad State Univer­sity. He learned Ger­man at the KGB’s spy school in Moscow, and in 1985 was posted to Dres­den. Four years later, Putin watched in dis­may as the Berlin Wall came down and com­mu­nist East Ger­many crum­bled. The KGB head­quar­ters was mobbed by protesters, and when Putin called the lo­cal Soviet mil­i­tary com­mand, he was told they could do noth­ing be­cause “Moscow is silent.” Putin faced the crowd him­self, warn­ing that his sol­diers—who were ac­tu­ally un­armed—would fire if protesters tried to en­ter the build­ing. Putin’s Ger­man bi­og­ra­pher, Boris Reitschus­ter, says the sight of a mob of for­merly docile ci­ti­zens over­throw­ing their au­thor­i­tar­ian lead­ers was a shock that shaped Putin’s world­view. “I think it’s the key to un­der­stand­ing Putin,” Reitschus­ter says. In post-Soviet Rus­sia, Putin worked in St. Peters­burg for the city’s first demo­crat­i­cally elected mayor and quickly built a rep­u­ta­tion as an ef­fec­tive back­room fixer. He re­signed from the KGB in 1991—though he re­tained close links to the agency. “There is no such thing,” he said in 2004, “as a for­mer KGB man.”

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