Vladimir Putin, after eight years as President of Russia and four more as Prime Minister, is stubbornly holding onto power. He has announced his intention to return as President and declared his party the winner in parliamentary elections that are widely seen as fraudulent. In December, tens of thousands took to the streets in Moscow in the largest protests since Putin came to power. Putin began his career as a KGB officer. But when he became President, he made himself a valued ally of the West. How did he do it? And where did things go wrong with Washington and London? for the first time Putins top colleagues and the Western statesmen who eventually clashed with him tell the inside story of one of the worlds most powerful men.