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Vladimir Putin’s leadership in Russia spans two decades. Here are the highlights

WATCH: Friday marks 20 years since Russian President Vladimir Putin first came to power in 1999, a time when relations with the West were nothing like they are today.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was appointed acting prime minister on Aug. 9 1999 by then president Boris Yeltsin. He has been in office as president or prime minister ever since, a period spanning two decades.

Here are some highlights of Putin‘s 20 years in power:

Aug. 9, 1999 – During an economic crisis, Boris Yeltsin names little-known security chief Vladimir Putin as his fifth acting prime minister in less than a year, and says he wants Putin to succeed him as president. In the following weeks, apartment bombings across Russia kill more than 300 people, which Putin blames on Chechen terrorists. His popularity is boosted by his tough response, which includes the aerial bombing of parts of Chechnya and an assault to recapture the breakaway southern province. Some Kremlin critics question if Chechen terrorists were really to blame for the apartment bombings. Dec. 31, 1999 – An ailing Yeltsin resigns, names Putin acting president.

Moscow, Russia, outgoing Russian president Boris Yeltsin (r) shaking hands with Russian prime minister and acting president Vladimir Putin (l) as he leaves Moscow’s Kremlin, the seat of Russian power,1999.
Moscow, Russia, outgoing Russian president Boris Yeltsin (r) shaking hands with Russian prime minister and acting president Vladimir Putin (l) as he leaves Moscow’s Kremlin, the seat of Russian power,1999. (Photo by: Sovfoto/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

March 26, 2000 Putin wins his first presidential election.

Acting Russian President and Presidential candidate Vladimir Putin speaks to the media near a polling station in Moscow, Sunday, March 26, 2000. Communist presidential candidate Gennady Zyuganov and the main reform candidate, Grigory Yavlinsky, both said Sunday they thought Vladimir Putin would not win the first round of presidential, elections and that a second tour would be needed.
Acting Russian President and Presidential candidate Vladimir Putin speaks to the media near a polling station in Moscow, Sunday, March 26, 2000. Communist presidential candidate Gennady Zyuganov and the main reform candidate, Grigory Yavlinsky, both said Sunday they thought Vladimir Putin would not win the first round of presidential, elections and that a second tour would be needed. (AP Photo)

Aug. 12, 2000 – The Kursk nuclear-powered submarine sinks to the bottom of the Barents Sea killing all 118 crew after an explosion onboard. Putin’s image suffers a jolt after he comments on the crisis only after four days.

In this file photo taken in April 6, 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin looks through the periscope of a nuclear submarine during a visit to the Northern Fleet on the Barents Sea, Russia.
In this file photo taken in April 6, 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin looks through the periscope of a nuclear submarine during a visit to the Northern Fleet on the Barents Sea, Russia. (AP Photo, File)

2002 – Chechen militants take more than 800 people hostage at a Moscow theatre. Special forces end the siege, but use a poison gas in the process which kills many of the hostages.

Flowers, candles and portrait of who died during terrorist attack on a Moscow theatre, lay in front of the theatre in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. Families the 130 people who died in a hostage crisis at a Moscow theatre 10 years ago will hold a ceremony outside the venue where Chechen militants held 912 audience members for three days.
Flowers, candles and portrait of who died during terrorist attack on a Moscow theatre, lay in front of the theatre in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. Families the 130 people who died in a hostage crisis at a Moscow theatre 10 years ago will hold a ceremony outside the venue where Chechen militants held 912 audience members for three days. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

2003 – Oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky is arrested and charged with fraud. He is later found guilty and jailed in a case his supporters said was punishment for his meddling in politics. He is only released in 2013 after Putin pardons him. March 2004 – Putin wins second term as president with more than 70 percent of the vote after oil prices fuel a consumer boom and raise living standards, a trend that continues for another four years. September 2004 – Islamist fighters seize more than 1,000 people in a school in Beslan, southern Russia, triggering a three-day siege that ends in gunfire. A total of 334 hostages are killed. Over half of them are children. Some parents say the authorities botched the handling of the siege and blame Putin. December 2004 – Putin scraps direct elections for regional governors making them, in effect, Kremlin appointees. Putin says the move is needed to keep Russia together.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an exiled Russian businessman who lives in Switzerland and is the founder of the Open Russia Movement, speaks during event at the Council on Foreign Relations about the future of Russia under Vladimir Putin in New York, New York, USA, 29 April 2019.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an exiled Russian businessman who lives in Switzerland and is the founder of the Open Russia Movement, speaks during event at the Council on Foreign Relations about the future of Russia under Vladimir Putin in New York, New York, USA, 29 April 2019. EPA/JUSTIN LANE

2005 Putin describes the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the twentieth century.

WATCH: Victory Day parade in Russia marks Germany’s WWII surrender

Victory Day parade in Russia marks Germany’s WWII surrender
Victory Day parade in Russia marks Germany’s WWII surrender
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2006 – Investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a critic of rights abuses in Chechnya, is murdered in Moscow on Putin‘s birthday. Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko dies in London that same year after being poisoned with a radioactive substance. A British inquiry years later concludes he was killed by Russian spies.

A Friday, May 10, 2002 file photo showing Alexander Litvinenko, former KGB spy and author of the book “Blowing Up Russia: Terror From Within” photographed at his home in London.
A Friday, May 10, 2002 file photo showing Alexander Litvinenko, former KGB spy and author of the book “Blowing Up Russia: Terror From Within” photographed at his home in London. (AP Photo/Alistair Fuller, File)

2007 Putin gives a speech in Munich in which he lashes out at the United States, accusing Washington of the “almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations.”

WATCH: Kremlin says ready to improve ties with U.S. after Mueller report

Kremlin says ready to improve ties with U.S. after Mueller report
Kremlin says ready to improve ties with U.S. after Mueller report

May 2008 – Constitutional limits on him serving more than two consecutive presidential terms see Putin become prime minister after his ally, Dmitry Medvedev, becomes president.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin (L), Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) arrive to watch Victory Day parade in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 09 May 2019. Russia marks 09 May the 74th anniversary of the victory in the World War II over Nazi Germany and its allies. The Soviet Union lost 27 million people in the war.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin (L), Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) arrive to watch Victory Day parade in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 09 May 2019. Russia marks 09 May the 74th anniversary of the victory in the World War II over Nazi Germany and its allies. The Soviet Union lost 27 million people in the war. EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

August 2008 – Russia fights and wins a short war with Georgia which loses control over two breakaway regions that are garrisoned with Russian troops.

People attend a wreath laying ceremony at a cemetery in Tbilisi, Georgia, 08 August 2019. An official ceremony was held here on the occasion of the eleventh anniversary of the Russian-South Ossetian-Georgian conflict, or Russo-Georgian War of August 2008.
People attend a wreath laying ceremony at a cemetery in Tbilisi, Georgia, 08 August 2019. An official ceremony was held here on the occasion of the eleventh anniversary of the Russian-South Ossetian-Georgian conflict, or Russo-Georgian War of August 2008. EPA/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE

2012 Putin returns to the presidency, winning re-election with over 60% of the vote after a decision to extend presidential terms to six from four years. Large anti-Putin protests take place before and after the vote with critics alleging voter fraud.

In this June 18, 2012, file photo President Barack Obama and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, left, go to shake hands during their bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.
In this June 18, 2012, file photo President Barack Obama and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, left, go to shake hands during their bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Feb 7-23, 2014 – Russia hosts the winter Olympic games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Feb. 27, 2014 – Russian troops start annexing Ukraine’s Crimea region after Ukrainian protesters oust the country’s Russia-friendly president Viktor Yanukovich. Russia incorporates Crimea the following month after a referendum condemned by the West. The United States and EU go on to impose sanctions on Moscow.

WATCH: Russia fences off annexed Crimea from Ukraine

Russia fences off annexed Crimea from Ukraine
Russia fences off annexed Crimea from Ukraine
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April 2014 – A pro-Russian separatist uprising breaks out in eastern Ukraine which results in a conflict, still ongoing, which hands the separatists control of a vast swath of territory and leaves over 13,000 people dead. Western countries accuse Russia of backing the uprising; Moscow denies direct involvement.

WATCH: Canada will continue to support Ukraine to strengthen relations, send message to Russia

Canada will continue to support Ukraine to strengthen relations, send message to Russia
Canada will continue to support Ukraine to strengthen relations, send message to Russia

Sept. 30, 2015 – Russia launches air strikes in Syria in its biggest Middle East intervention in decades, turning the tide of the conflict in President Bashar al-Assad’s favor.

WATCH: U.S. military claims Russia, Syrian regime responsible for hospital, school airstrikes in Aleppo

U.S. military claims Russia, Syrian regime responsible for hospital, school airstrikes in Aleppo
U.S. military claims Russia, Syrian regime responsible for hospital, school airstrikes in Aleppo

November 2016 – Donald Trump is elected president of the United States after promising to improve battered ties with Moscow. U.S. authorities determine Russia tried to interfere in the election in his favor however, casting a pall over U.S-Russia ties despite Russian denials.

WATCH: Donald Trump elected president in stunning victory

Donald Trump elected president in stunning victory
Donald Trump elected president in stunning victory

March 4, 2018 – A former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter are poisoned in England with a nerve agent. They survive but a woman who lives nearby dies after her partner brings home the poison found in a discarded perfume bottle. Britain accuses Moscow, which denies involvement.

WATCH: Suspect in Skripal poisoning in U.K. identified as Russian colonel

Suspect in Skripal poisoning in U.K. identified as Russian colonel
Suspect in Skripal poisoning in U.K. identified as Russian colonel
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March 19, 2018 Putin wins a landslide re-election victory and the mandate to stay in office until 2024.

WATCH: Vladimir Putin re-elected to fourth term as president of Russia

Vladimir Putin re-elected to fourth term as president of Russia
Vladimir Putin re-elected to fourth term as president of Russia

June/July 2018 – Russia hosts the men’s soccer FIFA World Cup.

WATCH: Should countries boycott the FIFA World Cup in Russia?

Should countries boycott the FIFA World Cup in Russia?
Should countries boycott the FIFA World Cup in Russia?

2019 – Protests break out in Moscow over a municipal election which the anti-Kremlin opposition says is unfair. Putin has yet to comment on the demonstrations.

WATCH: Russian police detains hundreds of protesters

Russian police detains hundreds of protesters
Russian police detains hundreds of protesters
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