Disillusioned with the KGB, Putin decides to embark on an academic career. He returns to Leningrad University intending to write his doctoral dissertation, but is persuaded to work for Anatoly Sobchak, the chair of the City Council, instead. He throws himself into politics. As Sobchak's deputy, he gets involved in the economic and political reconstruction of St. Petersburg and helps Sobchak in his bid to become mayor. But then things get rough. Lyudmila has a terrible car accident; their dacha is destroyed by fire; and Sobchak looses the mayoral elections. Putin resigns from the Council to plot his next move.