It’s been a while since we pitted an average person against a well-known figure. In this comparison series we’ve included a U.S. President in Donald Trump, a divisive character if ever there was one. We’ve looked at Mr. William Gates, the universally liked nerd that revolutionized the computer industry. We’ve even had the young YouTube celeb, Jake Paul, in the series, which wasn’t to many of our viewers liking.
But today we have a person painted as both a villain and a hero, depending on where you stand. In America he’s often portrayed as the big bad wolf at the door, but then American filmmaker Oliver Stone turned heads when he showed Mr. Putin to be what seemed like a reasonable and intelligent man. Today we’ll look closely at Vladimir and see how he fares against his people, in this episode of the Infographics Show, Vladimir Putin vs Average Russian.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born on 7 October, 1952. That makes him a Libra, whose sign is the scales. Maybe not a bad sign if you want to go into politics. It also makes him 65 years old. The median age in Russia is 39, from a population of almost 144 million. According to data published by the Moscow Times, the life expectancy for both men and women in Russia is 71.87 years. But, for women it’s 77.06, and only 66.5 for men. Most research regarding men leaving the planet young in Russia points to hard times economically and also the fact many Russian men take part in risky behaviors such as heavy drinking and incessant smoking. So, Putin, looking fit and like he has many years ahead of him, could be said at 65 to not be average in terms of health and how long he will last.
We might add to this that a few years ago the World Health Organization wrote, “Russia has the biggest percentage of adult smokers among the 14 countries surveyed by the World Health Organization.” The survey found that 60 percent of Russian men smoked and around 22 percent of Russian women were smokers. According to some media articles in 2017, Putin loathes the habit and wants to see the end of it in Russia. So again, he goes against the norm. He doesn’t drink alcohol, either, unless it is some part of political protocol. The Moscow Times actually wrote a piece in 2014 titled, “Vodka Is Putin’s Worst Enemy.” He’s an avid swimmer, a gym addict, and he detests the booze. Russia is said to be the fourth largest alcohol consumer per capita in the world, which makes Vladimir stand out from the average person.
Now, let’s have a look at his body.
Depending on what site you look at Putin is either 5 feet 6 inches (168cm) or 5 feet 7 inches (170cm). The Guardian, a fairly trustworthy news source, actually published an article on world leader heights. It turns out many leaders are quite short. Can we invoke “Little Man Complex” here? Well, we shouldn’t get into that. Anyhow, it seems Putin is 5”7. A global height survey tells us that the average male height in Russia is 5 feet 10 inches (177.2 cm)and for women 5 feet 4 1/2 inches (164.1 cm). So, Putin again is not average. He has brown hair and blue eyes.
Now, we can find Russians in forums talking about what is the most common eye and hair color, and most say brown, with blond being not as a common. They also say black hair is more common the more East you go. Another site we found said that 47 percent of Russians have this light brown hair and 29 percent are blonde. The rest we assume have black hair. The site also said that light brown eyes are the most common, closely followed by blue eyes. So, in this regard we can say Putin is at least average.
From the scant information about Putin’s education we can find that he excelled in sports and was at a young age a black belt in Judo. He was also fluent in German before he graduated high school. It’s said Putin also speaks English very well, although it’s not his chosen language when interviewed. Some data we found, admittedly from 2015, said about 30 percent of Russians are able to speak English. This is a big change as it was only 16 percent in 2003. The next most spoken second language is German. We might say Putin is ahead of the pack in this regard.
As for education, Russia has one of the highest literacy rates in the world (99.7% men, 99.6% women) and also one of the highest rates of people completing tertiary education, meaning education after high school, at 54 percent. Vladimir was one of these people that graduated college, although he studied Law. We are told right now in Russia one in 10 college graduates major in education. 22 percent of Russian college graduates studied in the field of engineering.
Putin got involved with the KGB, working undercover in Germany for a while under the Communist regime of the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, when communism took its last breath Putin admitted that it was a grand plan that was doomed to fail. In 1999 he called Communism “a blind alley, far away from the mainstream of civilization.” He might go against the grain here. In 2013, Russia’s Public Opinion Foundation surveyed a large group of Russian people of all ages, and it turned out that two-thirds of the participants saw communism as a good thing.
Only 7 percent said that the word ‘communism’ was related to something negative. You might think this was mainly the older generation that favored communism, but even within the young generation 50 percent of respondents still liked the idea of communism. In Putin’s generation 69 percent of people approved of communism. This again makes him not average.
As for work, he is of course employed. Russia’s unemployment rate is 5.2 percent. He also works in the biggest sector, which is services, that accounts for about 66 percent of Russian jobs. About 27 percent of Russians work in the industry sector the rest in agriculture.
Over to religion, Putin was baptized into the Christian Orthodox Church. Is he still religious? It seems so, as it’s reported God still appears in his speeches and he is not against religion being taught in schools. It’s also said he often surrounds himself with people of the Christian faith. But when interviewed by Time in 2007 and asked if he believed in God he was vague. “There are things I believe, which should not in my position, at least, be shared with the public at large for everybody’s consumption because that would look like self-advertising or a political striptease,” was his clever answer.
If Putin is still Russian Orthodox then he joins 41 percent of the Russian population, making him quite average. There is a chance, being such a rational man, he could be atheist, which at 13 percent of Russians is the second largest group apropos religious beliefs. We very much doubt he is Muslim, Buddhist or Pagan. Statistics also tell us 25 percent of Russians are “spiritual but not religious”, which according to his Time interview could also be Mr. Putin’s cup of tea.
So, now to the money, something quite often discussed when Putin is brought up in conversation. How much does he have? Well, in 2017 Fortune magazine published an article and this was the title, “Vladimir Putin Is Reportedly Richer Than Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos Combined.” According to the story, which admittedly is based on the research of one man, Putin made savvy investments and used his political clout to secure very profitable enterprises. We even did a show on this not so long ago, which cited the same resource as the Fortune story.
And if that is to be believed, Putin is worth $200 billion. If that’s not the true figure, other estimates have put his worth at $40 billion and $70 billion, stating that much of his wealth has come from investing in the oil and gas sectors. Whatever the case, the man who is said to own a one billion palace replete with all the trappings of the mega-rich certainly isn’t short of a buck or two. It’s said he has 20 palatial properties, 58 planes and 4 yachts, not to mention what he might have hidden in some vault somewhere. Is this true, though?
Not surprisingly, it’s mostly American media that concentrate their efforts of Putin’s mass wealth. The Moscow Times has mentioned nothing about it but did publish a survey in recent years that said Russians were most unhappy about the distribution of wealth in the country. In a separate article in 2018, the Moscow Times wrote that in his last four-year term Putin earned $310,500 and had only a modest house, a small bit of land and a garage. It said he also owns 3 cars and a boat trailer, a far cry from a super-yacht. Russia Today calls what some of the western media say about Putin’s secret wealth, “western propaganda” and “demonizing”. The Kremlin has called it “Pure Fiction.” But here at the infographics Show we are not purveyors of truth, we are just trying to give you both sides of the story.
Anyhow, the average monthly wage in Russia in April 2018 according to the Ministry for Economic Development Russia was 702 dollars. Whatever Putin earns or has, we can safely say that he is not close to being average.
What do you think about this divisive man? Good, bad or somewhere in the middle. A great leader or a corrupt crook? A threat to the West or an exaggerated foe? Tell us what you think in the comments. Also, be sure to watch our other video called Donald Trump vs Average American! Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe, and see you next time