Paper Reveals Putin's Cheeky Childhood

ByABC News

March 14, 2001 -- Watch out, schoolteachers. That little monster who talks in class, throws erasers at his classmates, and skips his homework may grow up to the nation's top spy, or worse yet, its leader.

That's exactly what happened in Russia, says the popular tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Earlier this week, the daily announced that it had found President Vladimir Putin's grade book in the dusty attic of a small wooden house where he spent his childhood summers.

The book painted a picture of an 11-year-old boy who was far from any sort of greatness at the time.

One instructor's comment said, "before class [Putin] threw chalkboard erasers at the children."

Others read: "Didn't do his math homework." "Behaved badly during singing class." "Talks in class."

The grade book revealed that Putin was once caught passing notes to a boy named Bogandov when he should have been paying attention to his teacher.

It also said the future president and judo champion fought repeatedly with his gym teacher during the 1963-64 school year. Young Putin was sent out of class and punished for forgetting his uniform, according to the paper.

One day, Putin's father was even summoned to school, after he boy got into a fight with an older student.

He was "one of us," the paper declared, apparently proud about Putin's unexceptional childhood.

Mediocrity Apparent

Putin's grades didn't reveal anything exceptional, either. On the Soviet five-point scale, he scored threes in arithmetic and natural science, and a two in drawing.

The only subject in which he scored a five was history. He also got a five for behavior, despite his altercations in gym class.

The tabloid said Putin's true love was German. Along with the grade book, the newspaper said it also found Putin's school notebooks. Young Putin loved German so much that there were German notes all over his books for other subjects, it said.

The paper said it even found German flashcards tucked inside his chemistry notebook.

A Refugee's Revelation

The newspaper obtained the notebooks after hearing that the house's current occupant had found some of Putin's notebooks in the attic when she moved in.

The house is a "dacha," or summer house, in the town of Tosno, outside St. Petersburg.

The Putins, like other families, visited the dacha on weekends during the winter, but lived there full-time during the summer, tending their vegetable garden.

Nadezhda Pankova, a refugee from Kazakhstan, initially told the reporters that she burned everything. But when they pressed her to let them look in the attic, she relented and went to fetch a ladder.

The discovery was a prize for Russian and world media, who have been searching for details of the former KGB spy's past ever since he came to power more than a year ago.'s Derek Thomson contributed to this report.