Putin in Veneto’s dialect means child. It’s also a fairly common surname in certain areas of that region.
There is a claim going around for more than 15 years and even reported by the Russian Television, that Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (born 7 October 1952) had an Italian ancestor, who had moved to Russia from Costabissara, a rich town in the province of Vicenza.
In fact, the surname Putin is very rare in modern Russia and all the Putins living there seem to originate from the same area. Genealogic studies on the President of the Russian Federation are not encouraged there, like in China, and in fact not much is known about Putin‘s ancestors.
We know that he was born in Saint Petersburg (then known as Leningrad), studied German in high school and speaks the language fluently. He then studied law at the Leningrad State University, graduating in 1975. He became a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, before retiring in 1991 to enter politics in Saint Petersburg. He then moved to Moscow in 1996 and joined President Boris Yeltsin’s administration, rising quickly through the ranks and becoming Acting President on 31 December 1999, when Yeltsin resigned.
Putin won the subsequent 2000 presidential election by a 53% to 30% margin, thus avoiding a runoff with his Communist Party opponent, Gennady Zyuganov. He was re-elected President in 2004 with 72% of the vote.
In 2000, Franco Putin, an industrialist of Costabissara, producing ovens to cook bricks, was thoroughly checked by customs officers Belgrade, asking if he was a relative of the Russian President. He told them no, but they did not want to believe him and even run a check on his Italian passport to see if it was fake.
The following year, in 2001, the popular Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets published an article claiming that Putin’s ancestors were Italians, but they had moved to Russia in the XVIII century to serve the Zar in his war against Charles II of Sweden. To prop up their story – just to show how an Italian he looks like – they went so far as to publish the famous picture known as the The Arnolfini Portrait, by the Flemish master Jan van Eyck, kept at the National Gallery in London. Arnolfini and his wife, by pure coincidence, looked like Putin and his wife.
The passion for Italy shown by Vladimir Putin is uncanny: he and his family often spend their holidays in Italy: Sardinia, Como Lake and other places. It is also very well known his friendship with the Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi. We should ask to Berlusconi for a confirmation of the Venetian origins of Putin, since they are so close, perhaps one snowing evening, sitting in front of the fire and with a glass of Vodka in their hands, the Russian may disclose his dark secret.
There is another person who could profit from being associated with Vladimir Putin, her name is Adele Putin, 55 years old from Schio (VI), a would-be politician who had run unsuccessfully for the Italian Parliament with the Northern League party. Given the popularity of Vladimir Putin with Italians and with the next round of elections due soon, she may give another try to the ballots and be voted into the Lower Chamber.