Major events in President Vladimir Putin's rise to power and eight years in office:
_ August 1999: President Boris Yeltsin appoints KGB veteran Vladimir Putin as acting prime minister. Putin vows to restore order to the restive southern republics.
_ September 1999: Almost 300 people killed in apartment bombings in Moscow and other cities, attacks blamed on Chechen separatists. Putin orders the bombing of the Chechen capital, Grozny, leading to the second Chechen war.
_ Dec. 1999: Yeltsin announces resignation on New Year's Eve; Putin becomes acting president.
_ March 2000: Putin scores convincing victory in Russia's first democratic transfer of power.
_ August 2000: Explosion sinks the Kursk, one of Russia's most advanced submarines, killing 118 sailors. Putin remains on vacation at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, inviting an onslaught of media criticism.
_ April 2001: Kremlin-connected gas giant OAO Gazprom seizes control of the only independent nationwide television network, evicting resistant journalists and installing a pliant team.
_ June 2001: U.S. President George W. Bush and Putin meet for the first time. Bush says he looked into Putin's eyes and "was able to get a sense of his soul."
_ October 2002: Chechen rebels storm crowded Moscow theater during musical, taking hundreds hostage. The three-day standoff ends when special troops storm the theater, freeing hundreds of hostages while killing the rebel leader and dozens of gunmen. More than 100 hostages die from the effects of knockout gas.
_ October 2003: Authorities arrest the country's richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and charge him with tax evasion and fraud.
_ March 2004: Putin easily wins a second four-year term, capturing more than 70 percent of the vote. Western observers criticize the election.
_ September 2004: A three-day hostage crisis at a school in Beslan, in the North Caucasus, ends in chaos and bloodshed, leaving more than 330 people dead, most of them children.
_ December 2004: Putin signs a bill scrapping gubernatorial elections, a move that gives him the right to appoint governors and dissolve regional legislatures if they refuse to confirm his nominees.
_ January 2006: Gazprom halts gas supplies to Ukraine after Kiev rejects its terms on natural gas deliveries and transit. Europe's energy supplies are affected.
_ July 2006: Russia hosts its first Group of Eight summit in Putin's hometown, St. Petersburg, as bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington worsen.
_ October 2006: Investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a sharp critic of Putin and the conduct of war in Chechnya, is shot to death at her Moscow apartment building in an apparent contract killing.
_ November 2006: Former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko dies of radiation poisoning in a London hospital. As he lays dying, the Kremlin critic accuses Putin of being behind his murder.
_ December 2007: Putin endorses the soft-spoken First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in the March 2 presidential contest.