Before he built the vertical, he built a team of like-minded cronies. Before he saved Russia from the chaos of the wild '90s, he manipulated that very chaos to advance his power and influence. And before he became the "gatherer of the Russian lands," he gathered a fortune for himself and his inner circle.
Before the Kremlin, before the oil boom, before Russia Inc., before the Georgia war and the Crimea annexation, there was the Ozero Dacha Cooperative -- a group of influential St. Petersburg politicians and businessmen centered around the city's deputy mayor, Vladimir Putin.
And if you were doing business in St. Petersburg in the 1990s, there was one iron-clad rule: Putin was the man to know. But what does the Putin of two decades ago tell us about the man today?
On the latest "Power Vertical Podcast," we look at Putin's St. Petersburg years. Joining me is Karen Dawisha
, director of the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at the University of Miami, Ohio, and author of a forthcoming book on that subject.
Also joining me are co-hosts Mark Galeotti, a professor at NYU, an expert on Russia's security services, and author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows
," and Kirill Kobrin, editor of the Moscow-based history and sociology magazine "Neprikosnovenny zapas
Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.