Berlusconi was the first person to assume the premiership without having held any prior government or administrative offices. He is known for his populist political style and brash, overbearing personality. In his long tenure, he was often accused of being an authoritarian leader and a strongman. Berlusconi still remains a controversial figure who divides public opinion and political analysts. Supporters emphasize his leadership skills and charismatic power, his fiscal policy based on tax reduction, and his ability to maintain strong and close foreign relations with both the United States and Russia. In general, critics address his performance as a politician, and the ethics of his government practices in relation to his business holdings. Issues with the former include accusations of having mismanaged the state budget and of increasing the Italian government debt. The second criticism concerns his vigorous pursuit of his personal interests while in office, including benefitting from his own companies' growth due to policies promoted by his governments, having vast conflicts of interest due to ownership of a media empire with which he has restricted freedom of information and finally, being blackmailed as leader because of his turbulent private life.