Does Vladimir Putin speak English? What languages does Putin speak?
President Vladimir Putin rarely speaks publicly in any other language than his native Russian, but he has shown his ability to speak in English.
National leaders, although they often have to interact with each other on the international stage, don’t always show proficiency in languages other than their own. With tensions escalating over Russian aggression toward its neighbor Ukraine all eyes are on President Vladimir Putin.
He rarely speaks in any language other than his mother tongue, but he is a polyglot. Besides his native Russian, he is fluent in German from his time in the KGB and over the years he has on select occasions shown publicly that he can converse in English.
Putin can speak for himself in at least two languages
Putin’s second language is German, a language he will frequently use when he travels to German-speaking countries. He used the language on a daily basis while stationed in the city of Dresden in East Germany as an agent of the Soviet security services in the 1980s. He further polished his German language skills through his friendship with former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder according to the Guardian.
According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Putin is an able speaker in English as well. Peskov told Rossiya 1, a Russian state-run television channel, that Putin speaks for himself in English when conversing with other foreign leaders on the sidelines of international summits. “He practically understands English completely and sometimes even corrects the translators," Peskov said.
The world has had the opportunity to see for themselves the Russian president’s ability to speak in the current lingua franca. In 2013 Putin made a pitch in English for Russia to host the 2020 World Expo in Yekaterinburg, Russia's fourth-largest city. The city lost out to Dubai but Russia is trying again, this time putting forth Moscow in 2030.
That wasn’t the only time he’s been on screen speaking in English. In 2017 director Oliver Stone broadcast a series of interviews with Putin in which the Russian leader switched between English and Russian. Probably his most viral display of speaking, well singing, in English came in 2010 when he performed Blueberry Hill at a children's charity fundraiser in St Petersburg.