Putin reveals for the first time he commanded an artillery battalion

Putin reveals for the first time he commanded an artillery battalion while in the army as he visits St Petersburg to fire a cannon salute

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin fired the howitzer’s daily noon shot on Monday
  • He told onlookers he was ‘the commander of the howitzer artillery battalion’
  • This was an aspect of the former KGB man’s history that had never been revealed
  • President was visiting his troops as part of Russia’s Christmas celebrations 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has revealed for the first time he commanded an artillery battalion while in the army as he visited St Petersburg to fire a cannon salute.

Putin told troops at Petropavlovsky Fortress: ‘I received the rank of lieutenant as an artilleryman, as the commander of a howitzer artillery battalion… 122mm.’

He made the comments on Monday as he braved freezing temperatures to fire the daily salute over the Neva River as part of Christmas celebrations.

Video shows the platform quaking beneath his feet as he pulls the lever – and flinches only slightly – as the cannon fires.

Fire from the blank round spurts from the end of the cannon as Russian President Vladimir Putin pulls the lever of the howitzer

Putin speaks to cadets from Suvorov Military School during his visit to Petropavlovsky Fortress on Monday

A military officer joked ‘you’ve scored a hit,’ as the blank round fired into the air.

Putin replied, ‘Certainly you can’t miss with this,’ Russia Today reported.

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The President grinned as he moved off from the cannon to shake hands with students from Suvorov Military School.

The Kremlin biography makes no mention of Putin’s time as an artillery man and it is a new revelation for historians of his Soviet career

Under the Russian Orthodox liturgical calendar, Christmas is observed on January 7.

The midday shot has been a tradition since 1865. 

Putin is no stranger to mucking in with the troops and has previously got into a fighter jet, as well as holding various smaller firearms.  

The Kremlin states that Putin joined the KGB after completing his law degree at Leningrad State University in 1975.

There is no mention made of him serving as a lieutenant or commanding an artillery battalion.

However, as part of his training by Soviet intelligence he would have been required to undertake basic military training.

It is possible he would have had experience working with howitzer’s during this time.

The official Kremlin biography states that even before the end of high school Putin wanted to work for the KGB. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin stand in bitter cold as he to fire the fortress cannon on Monday

The official history says he took himself to an office where he was told he would either have to serve in the military first or complete a degree in law.

Putin notes: ‘And from that moment, I began preparing myself to enter the law department at Leningrad State University.’ 

The revelation comes as it was revealed last month there was a Stasi identification card, purportedly belonging to Putin which had been uncovered in Germany.

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