Putin’s autobiography says he was born in 1952 in Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg. But there is an alternative, more credible story which places his early years in Metekhi, Georgia and identifies his biological mother as a woman named Vera. In the Kremlin version, Putin’s grandfather, Spiridon Putin, was a personal cook to Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. If you like our content and want to support Dubious, please become a patron and subscribe to our add free premium episodes.
Putin's mother was a factory worker and his father was a conscript in the Soviet Navy, serving in the submarine fleet in the early 1930s. Early in World War II, his father served in the destruction battalion of the NKVD – which later became KGB, now FSB. He was severely wounded in 1942. Vladimir Spiridonovich and Maria Ivanovna, his parents, had two more children, two boys but they both died before Putin was born: Albert, born in the 1930s, died in infancy, and Viktor, born in 1940, died of diphtheria and starvation in 1942 during the siege of Leningrad by Nazi Germany forces in WW2. In her memoir, Hard Choices, she shares a story Putin told her about this time in his life. This story does not fit the version Putin tells in his official autobiography. The then U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said he too had never heard it before.
Putin also tells another story: one of his great teachers in life was a rat. 1
Putin’s path was influenced by a movie called The Shield and The Sword - a 1968 Soviet spy series. It inspired him to join the KGB. Putin was impressed that “One man's effort could achieve what whole armies could not. One spy could decide the fate of thousands of people.” 2
There is an unofficial version of Putin’s early years: Putin was actually born in Georgia. A woman named Vera who lives in Metheki, near Gori, in Georgia has been saying since 1999 that she is Putin’s birthmother. Putina married a Georgian soldier Giorgi Osepahvili. In December 1960, the ultimatum from her husband, Putina travelled with "Vova" back to Ochyor, in Russia and she left the boy with her parents and returned to Georgia. Vera believes that the Leningrad "parents" referred to in Putin's official biography adopted HER son from his grandparents, so from her parents. The story was corroborated by Shura Gabinashvili, a former Russian teacher at the village school in Metekhi. She says Putin was her student and that she has received death threats about making these claims public. She remembers Putin by the same pet name Vera, his alleged biological mother uses: "Vova." 3
In this episode we also discuss Alexander Litvinenko, polonium 210, the suspicious death of BOTH Putin’s Leningrad parents of cancer, AT THE SAME TIME. We also comment on the very peculiar deaths of Artyom Borovik who died in a plane crash coinciding with the documentary he was making about Vera and Putin's childhood & Italian journalist Antonio Russo who was also interested in Vera’s story before was murdered while investigating Putin’s war crimes in Chechnya.
1. Alex Kliment. Putin, Ukraine, and the Rat Story. Gzero. March 2022. ⇤
2. Damien Sharkov. Straight Outta Leningrad: Putin Says Streetfights Taught Him How to Tackle ISIS. Newsweek. October 2015. ⇤
3. Kate Weinberg. Could This Woman be Vladimir Putin's Real Mother?. Telegraph. December 2008. ⇤
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