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What Languages Does Vladimir Putin Speak?

Vladimir Putin is a Russian politician who is the current President of Russia.

You may be wondering how many languages does Putin speak? He has had a long career in politics so it’s natural to wonder if he also speaks multiple languages.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This post will go into detail on what languages Putin speaks, how fluent he is in them and how he learnt them.

What Languages Does Putin Speak?

Putin speaks 3 languages to varying levels. Putin speaks Russian, German and English.

Russian is his first language as he was born in Leningrad, Soviet Union (present day St Petersburg, Russia) to Russian parents and has spent most of his life in Russia.

When speaking in public, Putin almost always speaks Russian but we do know that he can speak other languages…

Does Putin Speak English?

Yes, Putin can speak English to at least an intermediate level.

Putin’s ability to speak English was confirmed by ​​Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. 

The spokesman said that, although Putin uses a translator at official meetings, on the sidelines of international summits he often speaks English with other foreign leaders by himself. 

Apparently he speaks English so well that he even corrects the translators from time to time.

Putin was seen switching between English and Russian in a series of interviews from 2017 with Oliver Stone.

Putin was also recorded singing the song Blueberry Hill in English in 2010 at a children’s charity fundraiser in St Petersburg.

Check out Putin singing in English in the video below:

You can also see Putin speaking English in the video below if him singing in English wasn’t enough for you.

How Well Does Putin Speak English?

It appears that Putin speaks English very well, at least to an intermediate level, perhaps even higher.

Given the fact that he is able to correct translators shows he has a very good level of English.

He even addressed the Bureau of International Expositions in English in 2013.

As most of the videos of him speaking English are scripted speeches so it’s hard to assess Putin’s level of English as the script was likely written for him.

It is clear that Putin does have a very strong Russian accent when speaking English but he can easily be understood.

Putin himself said that he can express himself more or less in English.

Does Putin Speak German?

Yes, Vladimir Putin can speak German fluently.

He began learning German from an early age in school. Putin attended Saint Petersburg High School 281 and learnt to speak German there.

He also spent 5 years living in Germany whilst working for the KGB. From 1985 to 1990, Putin served in Dresden, Germany using a cover identity and posing as a translator.

Whilst working in Germany, Putin used his German language skills everyday. 

According to the Guardian, he also further developed his German language skills through his friendship with German chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Putin can frequently be seen speaking in German whenever he visits German speaking countries and has even used German in official meetings.

Back in 2001, Putin gave an 8-minute speech in German in front of the Bundestag. Check this out in the video below:

As this was a scripted speech, it’s hard to fully assess his level of German however Putin did also step in as an impromptu translator for a German politician in 2016.

Check this out in the video below where Putin translates some German phrases into Russian for a German politician.

How Well Does Putin Speak German?

The fact that Putin posed as a translator whilst working undercover in Germany tells us that he must speak German very well.

Additionally, he must have had a very good understanding of the German language to be sent to Germany by the KGB in the first place.

Putin’s German is so good that when speaking with former German chancellor, Angela Merkel, he will often speak to her in German.

Interestingly, as Merkel is also fluent in Russian she will usually reply back in Russian.

Can Putin Speak Any Other Languages?

It’s thought that Putin cannot speak any other languages apart from Russian, German and English.

Whilst he can speak multiple European languages, Vladimir Putin does not speak French.

Does Putin Speak Swedish?

Putin does know a few words and phrases in Swedish however he doesn’t speak the language.

In 2013, the Kremlin’s Chief of Staff, Sergei Ivanov, claimed that he and Putin occasionally exchange phrases in Swedish.

Sergei Ivanov picked up some Swedish whilst working at the former USSR’s embassy in Helsinki.

It’s unclear where Putin learnt to speak some Swedish phrases.

Does Putin Speak Tatar?

Tatar is Russia’s second-most spoken native language after Russian. It is predominantly spoken in the Republic of Tatarstan which forms part of Russia. 

Whilst Putin doesn’t speak Tatar fluently, in 2005 he did deliver a speech entirely in Tatar in Kazan which is the capital of Tatarstan.

As this speech was scripted and pre-planned it’s clear that Putin doesn’t actually speak Tatar but he did put in enough effort to deliver the speech which was met with much enthusiasm from onlookers.

Check out Putin speaking Tatar in the video below:

It may not surprise you that Vladimir Putin speaks 3 languages. 

This is definitely a really important skill especially for a world leader.

Thanks for reading this post which answers the question ‘how many languages does Putin speak?’.

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