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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 March 2008, 07:47 GMT
In pictures: Putin's presidency

Acting PM Vladimir Putin with Boris Yeltsin in August 1999

The rise of Vladimir Putin, who is set to step down as Russia's president after Sunday's election, began with his surprise nomination as prime minister by President Yeltsin, in 1999.

Putin on submarine in Barents Sea in April 2000

Since becoming president in 2000, Mr Putin has sought to make Russia more assertive on the world stage.

Mr Putin is thrown by a Japanese schoolgirl in Tokyo in September 2000

Mr Putin, a black belt at judo, has rarely allowed himself to be thrown off balance.

Putin on a training mission in a supersonic strategic bomber in August 2005

Instead, he has proved a master of the photo opportunity.

Putin fishing in the Yenisey River in Siberia in August 2007

At times, he has cultivated an all-out macho image which seems to have enhanced his popularity at home.

Putin feeds calf at farm in Belgorod region in September 2007

Yet like most other politicians, he has sometimes tried to show a softer side.

Putin talks to small boy at ski resort near Sochi on the Black Sea in February 2008

Nearing the end of his presidency, he still seems determined to use the media to his advantage.

Election poster of Putin and Medvedev in Moscow - 1 March

Although he is stepping down as president, he is set to remain a key figure alongside his chosen successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

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