Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev (Russian: , Dmitrij Anatol′evič Medvedev; Russian pronunciation: [ˈdmʲitrʲɪj ɐnɐˈtolʲjɪvʲɪtɕ mʲɪˈdvʲedʲɪf]; born 14 September 1965) is currently President of Russia, inaugurated on 7 May 2008. He won the presidential election held on 2 March 2008 with about 70% of the vote.
Medvedev was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian government on 14 November 2005. Formerly Vladimir Putin's chief of staff, he was also the Chairman of Gazprom's board of directors, a post he had held, for the second time, since 2000. On 10 December 2007, he was informally endorsed as a candidate for the forthcoming presidential elections by the largest Russian political party, United Russia, and officially endorsed on 17 December 2007. Medvedev's candidacy was supported by former President Vladimir Putin and pro-presidential parties. A technocrat and political appointee, Medvedev had never held elective office before 2008.
Medvedev was born to Anatoly Afanasevich Medvedev and Yulia Veniaminovna Medvedeva (née Shaposhnikova), both university professors, and brought up in Kupchino, a district of Leningrad, as Saint Petersburg was then called. He grew up in a 40-square-metre (430 sq ft) flat.
Medvedev was an A and B student at the secondary school. His future wife, Svetlana Linnik, was his classmate. Medvedev was fond of sports, in particular weightlifting. He was a fan of English bands Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.
He graduated from the Law Department of Leningrad State University in 1987 (together with Ilya Yeliseyev, Anton Ivanov, Nikolay Vinnichenko and Konstantin Chuychenko) and in 1990 received his PhD in private law from the graduate school of the same university. Anatoly Sobchak, an early democratic politician of the 1980s and 1990s, was one of his professors, and Medvedev later participated in Sobchak's successful Saint Petersburg mayoral campaign. In 1990 he worked in Leningrad Municipal Soviet of People's Deputies under the supervision of Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Churov, later the head of the President election committee, also started under Putin at that time.
Between 1991 and 1999 Medvedev, in addition to his business activities and participation in the administration of St. Petersburg, held a position of docent at his alma mater university, now renamed to Saint Petersburg State University.
Business and political career before presidency
From 1991 to 1996 Medvedev worked as a legal expert for the International Relations Committee (IRC) of the Saint Petersburg Mayor's Office headed by Vladimir Putin. According to the research of critics of Putin's regime, Yuri Felshtinsky and Vladimir Pribylovsky, the committee was involved in numerous business activities including gambling. The connection with gambling business was established through a municipal enterprise called Neva Chance. Neva Chance became a co-owner of the city gambling establishments with an authorized capital usually of 51%. The mayor's office contributed its share not in money, but "by relinquishing the right to collect rent for the facilities that the casinos occupied." The authors concluded that Medvedev "was one of the first people [...] in Russia as a whole, who figured out how the government could "join" a joint stock company without breaking existing laws: not by contributing land or real estate, but by contributing rents on land and real estate." The Committee headed by Putin was under investigation for illegal commercial operations by a St. Petersburg parliament committee. The committee recommended that Putin be removed from the office and his activities were investigated by the prosecutors.
In November 1993, Medvedev became the legal affairs director of Ilim Pulp Enterprise, a St. Petersburg-based timber company. This enterprise was initially registered as a limited liability partnership, and then re-registered as a closed joint stock company Fincell, "50% of whose shares were own by Dmitry Medvedev." In 1998, he was also elected a member of the board of directors of the Bratskiy LPK paper mill. He worked for Ilim Pulp until 1999.
In November 1999, Medvedev became one of several people from St. Petersburg brought by Vladimir Putin to top government positions in Moscow. In December of the same year he was appointed deputy head of the presidential staff. Dmitry Medvedev became one of the politicians closest to President Putin, and during the 2000 elections he was head of the presidential election campaign headquarters.
From 2000 to 2001, Medvedev was chair of Gazprom's board of directors. He was then deputy chair from 2001 to 2002. In June 2002, Medvedev became chair of Gazprom's board of directors for a second time. In October 2003, he replaced Alexander Voloshin as presidential chief of staff. In November 2005, he was appointed by President Vladimir Putin as First Deputy Prime Minister, First Deputy Chairman of the Council for Implementation of the Priority National Projects attached to the President of the Russian Federation, and Chairman of the Council's Presidium.
An apparently mild-mannered person, Dmitry Medvedev is considered to be a moderate liberal pragmatic, an able administrator and a loyalist of Putin. He is also known as a leader of "the clan of St.Petersburg lawyers", one of the political groups formed around Vladimir Putin during his presidency . Other members of this group are believed to include the co-owner of the Ilim Pulp Corporation Dmitry Kozak, speaker of Russian Federation Council Sergei Mironov, Yuri Molchanov, and head of Putin's personal security service Viktor Zolotov. In January 2008 Anders Åslund assessed the situation that had evolved in the Kremlin after Medvedev's nomination as highly fractious and fraught with a coup d'état on the part of the siloviki clan—"a classical pre-coup situation".
2008 presidential elections
Following his appointment as First Deputy Prime Minister, many political observers expected Medvedev to be nominated as Putin's successor for the 2008 presidential elections. There were other potential candidates, such as Sergey Ivanov and Viktor Zubkov, but on 10 December 2007, President Putin announced that Medvedev was his preferred successor. The announcement was staged on TV with four parties suggesting Medvedev's candidature to Putin, and Putin then giving his endorsement. The four pro-Kremlin parties were United Russia, Fair Russia, Agrarian Party of Russia and Civilian Power. United Russia held its party congress on 17 December 2007 where by secret ballot of the delegates, Medvedev was officially endorsed as their candidate in the 2008 presidential election. He formally registered his candidacy with the Central Election Commission on 20 December 2007 and said he would step down as chairman of Gazprom, since under the current laws, the president is not permitted to hold another post. Sources close to Gazprom and Medvedev have told the Vedomosti newspaper that Medvedev may be replaced by Putin at Gazprom. His registration was formally accepted as valid by the Russian Central Election Commission on 21 January 2008.
Political analysts believed that Putin's choice of a successor would coast to an easy election-day victory, as pre-election opinion polls indicated that a substantial majority of potential voters would back Putin's chosen candidate for president. An opinion poll by Russia's independent polling organization, the Levada Center, conducted over the period 21–24 December 2007 indicated that when presented a list of potential candidates, 79% of Russians were ready to vote for Medvedev if the election were immediately held. In his first speech after being endorsed, Medvedev announced that, as President, he would appoint Vladimir Putin to the post of prime minister to head the Russian government. Although constitutionally barred from a third consecutive presidential term, such a role would allow Putin to continue as an influential figure in Russian politics. The constitution allows him to return to the presidency later. Some analysts have been quick to point out that such a statement shows that Medvedev recognizes that he would only be a figurehead president. Putin pledged that he would accept the position of prime minister should Medvedev be elected president. Although Putin had pledged not to change the distribution of authority between president and prime minister, many analysts expected a shift in the center of power from the presidency to the prime minister post when Putin assumed the latter under a Medvedev presidency. Election posters have portrayed the pair side-by-side with the slogan "We Will Be Victorious Together "("Вместе победим").
In January 2008, Medvedev launched his presidential campaign with stops in the oblasts. With preliminary results showing he would probably win the 2 March 2008 presidential election by a landslide, Medvedev vowed to work closely with the man who chose him for the job, Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Churov, Chairman of the Presidential Election Committee, was the friend of both Putin and Medvedev with whom they started to work back in the 1990s in Sobchak's administration in St. Petersburg. The Committee denied participation in elections to the opposition leaders Kasparov and Kasyanov using technical formalities in the election law previously adjusted to hinder the opposition election campaign. The three candidates that were allowed to participate were not considered dangerous for Medvedev and did virtually nothing to challenge him. Medvedev declined to participate in political debates with the other candidates.
Medvedev was elected President of Russia on 2 March 2008. According to the final election results, he won 70.28% of votes with a turnout of over 69.78% of registered voters. The fairness of the election was disputed, with official monitoring groups giving conflicting reports. Many reported that the election was free and fair, while others reported that not all candidates had equal media coverage and that Kremlin opposition was treated unfairly. Monitoring groups found a number of other irregularities, but made no reports of fraud or ballot stuffing. Many agreed that the results generally reflected the will of the people.
Russian programmer Shpilkin analyzed the results of Medvedev's election and came to the conclusion that the results were falsified by the election committees. However, after the correction for the alleged falsification factor, Medvedev still came out as the winner, although with 63% of the vote instead of 70%..
On 7 May, Dmitry Medvedev took an oath as the third President of the Russian Federation in a ceremony held in Kremlin Palace. After taking the oath of office and receiving a gold chain of double-headed eagles symbolizing the presidency, he stated: "I believe my most important aims will be to protect civil and economic freedoms; We must fight for a true respect of the law and overcome legal nihilism, which seriously hampers modern development." As his inauguration coincided with the celebration of victory over Nazi Germany on 9 May, he attended the military parade at Red Square and signed a decree to provide housing to war veterans.
2008 South Ossetia war
In a campaign speech, Medvedev advocated private property, economic deregulation, low taxes, an independent judiciary, anti-corruption, and defending personal freedoms. His phrase "Freedom is better than non-freedom" said in Krasnoyarsk during his election campaign was widely cited as a sign of liberal changes by some and ironically by others.
Medvedev is seen as generally more liberal than his predecessor, Vladimir Putin.
Medvedev is married and has a son named Ilya (born 1996). His wife, Svetlana Vladimirovna Medvedeva, was both his childhood friend and school sweetheart. They married several years after their graduation from secondary school in 1982.
Medvedev's cousin, the son of his mother's identical twin sister, emigrated to the US in the 1990s.
Medvedev is a devoted fan of hard rock, listing Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin as his favorite bands. He is a collector of their original vinyl records and has previously said that he has collected all of the recordings of Deep Purple. As a youth, he was making copies of their records, although these bands were then on the official state-issued blacklist. In February 2008, Medvedev and Sergei Ivanov attended a Deep Purple concert in Moscow together.
Despite a busy schedule, Medvedev always reserves an hour each morning and again each evening to swim and lift weights. He swims 1,500 meters (approximately one mile), twice a day. He also jogs, plays chess, and practices yoga. Among his hobbies are reading the works of Mikhail Bulgakov, and following his hometown professional football team, FC Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Medvedev keeps an aquarium in his office and cares for his fish himself. Medvedev owns a Neva Masquerade male cat named Dorofey. Dorofey used to fight with a cat belonging to Mikhail Gorbachev—who was Medvedev's neighbor—so the Medvedevs had to have Dorofey neutered.
Medvedev's reported 2007 annual income is $80,000, and he reported approximately the same amount as bank savings. Medvedev's wife reported no savings or income. They live in an upscale apartment house "Zolotie Klyuchi" in Moscow.
On the Runet, Medvedev is sometimes associated with the Medved meme, linked to padonki slang, which resulted in many ironical and satirical writings and cartoons that blend Medvedev with a bear. Medvedev is familiar with this phenomenon and takes no offence, stating that the web meme has the right to exist. The word medved means "bear" in Russian and the surname "Medvedev" is a patronymic which means "bear's son".
Reportedly, Dmitry Medvedev uses an Apple iPhone, despite the fact that this cell phone is not officially sold or even certified in Russia.
Medvedev wrote two short articles on the subject of his doctoral dissertation in Russian law journals. He is also one of the authors of a textbook on civil law for universities first published in 1991 (the 6th edition of Civil Law. In 3 Volumes. was published in 2007) and regarded as "brilliant" by many civil law scholars. He is the author of a textbook for universities entitled, Questions of Russia's National Development, first published in 2007, concerning the role of the Russian state in social policy and economic development. He is also the lead co-author of a book of legal commentary entitled, A Commentary on the Federal Law "On the State Civil Service of the Russian Federation", scheduled for publication in 2008. This work considers the Russian Federal law on the Civil service, which went into effect on July 27 2004, from multiple perspectives - scholarly, jurisprudential, practical, enforcement- and implementation-related.
Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev
Дмитрий Анатольевич Медведев
|Assumed office |
7 May 2008
|Prime Minister||Vladimir Putin|
|Preceded by||Vladimir Putin|
Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
|In office |
14 November 2005 – 12 May 2008
Serving with Sergei Ivanov
|Prime Minister||Mikhail Fradkov |
|Preceded by||Office created|
|Succeeded by||Viktor Zubkov |
|Born||14 September 1965 (1965-09-14) |
Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (now Saint Petersburg, Russia)
|Political party||Independent (formally) |
|Spouse||Svetlana Medvedeva (née Linnik)|
|Alma mater||Leningrad State University, now Saint Petersburg State University|