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.
Since becoming president in 2000, Mr Putin has sought to make Russia more assertive on the world stage.
Mr Putin, a black belt at judo, has rarely allowed himself to be thrown off balance.
Instead, he has proved a master of the photo opportunity.
At times, he has cultivated an all-out macho image which seems to have enhanced his popularity at home.
Yet like most other politicians, he has sometimes tried to show a softer side.
Nearing the end of his presidency, he still seems determined to use the media to his advantage.
Although he is stepping down as president, he is set to remain a key figure alongside his chosen successor, Dmitry Medvedev.