Russian president Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win his fourth term when voters go to the polls on Sunday, March 18. Putin has been the ever-present face of Russian politics since he was elevated to the role of prime minister by Boris Yeltsen in 1999. Despite Putin’s near 20 years in power, his image has still remained tightly controlled. If he isn’t sternly overseeing a cabinet meeting or delivering a speech, he’s portrayed in state media, documented photo-ops touring factories, or engaging in some sort of manly endeavor.
These photos, syndicated through Western wire services, yet all originating from Russian state media, show that while aspects of Putin’s appearance have changed over time, the rigid posturing of statecraft has not.