|Assumed office |
7 May 2008
|Prime Minister||Vladimir Putin|
|Preceded by||Vladimir Putin|
Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
14 November 2005 – 12 May 2008
Serving with Sergei Ivanov
|Prime Minister||Mikhail Fradkov|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Viktor Zubkov|
|Born||14 September 1965|
Leningrad, Soviet Union (now Saint Petersburg, Russia)
|Birth name||Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev|
|Political party||Independent (Formally)|
|Alma mater||Leningrad State University|
Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev (Russian: Дми́трий Анато́льевич Медве́дев, tr. Dmitriy Anatolyevich Medvedev, IPA: [ˈdmʲitrʲɪj ɐnɐˈtolʲjɪvʲɪtɕ mʲɪˈdvʲedʲɪf] ( listen); born 14 September 1965) is the third and current President of the Russian Federation, inaugurated on 7 May 2008. He won the presidential election held on 2 March 2008 with 71.25% of the popular vote.
Medvedev was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian government on 14 November 2005. Formerly Vladimir Putin's Chief of Presidential Staff, he was also the Chairman of Gazprom's board of directors, a post he had held for the second time since the year 2000. Medvedev's candidacy was backed by then President Vladimir Putin.
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 several pro-presidential parties, and officially endorsed by United Russia on 17 December 2007. A technocrat and political appointee, Medvedev had never held elective office before 2008. As President, Medvedev has made economic modernisation one of his top agendas.
Early life and background
Dmitry Medvedev in 1967 at the approximate age of 2.
Medvedev's father was a Professor at the Leningrad Institute of Technology, Anatoly Afanasevich Medvedev (November 1926 — 2004); his mother is Yulia Veniaminovna Medvedeva (née Shaposhnikova, born 21 November 1939), and brought up in the Kupchino district of Leningrad. His maternal grandparents were Ukrainians, whose surname was Kovalev, originally Koval. Medvedev traces these genealogical roots to the Belgorod region.
Medvedev was an A student in secondary school . He was a member of Komsomol from 1979 until 1991. His future wife, Svetlana Linnik, was his classmate. During his studies at the University he joined the Communist Party. Medvedev was fond of sports, in particular weightlifting. He was a fan of the English rock 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 Candidate of Sciences degree 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. In 1988, Medvedev joined Sobchak's team of democrats and served as the de facto head of Sobchak's successful campaign for a seat in the new Soviet parliament, the Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR.
Between 1991 and 1999, Medvedev in addition to his business activities and participation in the Saint Petersburg City Administration, 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 administration, 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.The Committee was under investigation for illegal commercial operations by a St. Petersburg parliament committee.
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 owned 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. Medvedev became one of the politicians closest to President Putin, and during the 2000 elections he was Putin's campaign manager.
Medvedev with Vladimir Putin on 27 March 2000 after Putin's victory in the Presidential election the day before.
As part of his campaign against corrupt oligarchs and economic mismanagement in 2000, Putin appointed Medvedev Chairman of Gazprom's board of directors. Together with Alexei Miller, Medvedev managed to put an end to the large-scale tax evasion and asset stripping that was going on in the company by the previous corrupt management. Medvedev then served as deputy chair from 2001 to 2002, becoming chair for the second time in June 2002. In October 2003, he replaced Alexander Voloshin as presidential chief of staff.
In November 2005, he was appointed by 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. In December 2005, Medvedev was named Person of the Year by Expert magazine, a Russian business weekly. He shared the title with Alexei Miller, CEO of Gazprom.
Often described as a mild-mannered person, Medvedev is considered to be a moderate liberal pragmatist, 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.
Russian presidential election, 2008
Medvedev with Vladimir Putin.
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. 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 "Together We Win" ("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.
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.
Taking the Presidential Oath in the Grand Kremlin Palace on 7 May 2008.
Medvedev was seen as generally more liberal than his predecessor, Vladimir Putin.
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 by many western observers and officials. Andreas Gross, head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) mission, stated that the elections were "neither free nor fair". Moreover, the few western vote monitors bemoaned the inequality of candidate registration and the abuse of administrative resources by Medvedev allowing blanket television coverage.
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 2008, 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 the Victory Day on 9 May, he attended the military parade at Red Square and signed a decree to provide housing to war veterans.
On 8 May 2008, Dmitry Medvedev appointed Vladimir Putin Prime Minister of Russia. In September, the country was hit by the 2008 Russian financial crisis. Dmitry Medvedev attributed the decline in the Russian stock market to the impact of the liquidity crisis in the United States and contended that the crisis in Russia had little if anything to do with internal problems in its economy and government policies. He ordered the injection of large funds from the state budget into the markets to stabilize the situation.
In his first address to the Russian parliament on 5 November 2008, Medvedev proposed to change the Constitution of Russia in order to increase the terms of the President and State Duma from four to six and five years respectively (see 2008 Amendments to the Constitution of Russia).
On 10 March 2009, Medvedev signed the presidential decree to reform the civil service system between 2009-2013 as part of his drive against corruption. The main direction of reforms include establishing a new system to manage the civil service, introducing effective technology and modern methods of human resources operations, and increasing the efficiency and professionalism of civil servants.
Medvedev on 8 May 2009, proposed to the legislature and on 2 June signed into law an amendment whereby the chairperson of the Constitutional Court and his deputies would be proposed to the parliament by the president rather than elected by the judges, as was the case before.
In May 2009, Medvedev set up the Presidential Commission of the Russian Federation to Counter Attempts to Falsify History to the Detriment of Russia's Interests.
Medvedev has named technological innovation one of the key priorities of his presidency. In May, 2009, Medvedev established the Presidential Commission on Innovation, which he will personally chair every month. The commission comprises almost the entire Russian government and some of the best minds from academia and business. Medvedev has also said that giant state corporations will inevitably be privatized, and although the state had increased its role in the economy in recent years, this should remain a temporary move.
On 7 August 2009, Dmitry Medvedev instructed Prosecutor General Yury Chayka and Chief of the Audit Directorate of the Presidential Administration of Russia Konstantin Chuychenko to probe state corporations, a new highly privileged form of organizations earlier promoted by President Putin, to question their appropriateness.
Just like Prime Minister Putin few days earlier, on 15 September Medvedev announced that he might stand for presidency again in 2012, but stressed that he would not challenge the former and that they would have to find an agreement. During the same speech he approved of the 2004 abolition of direct popular elections of regional leaders, effectively in favor of their appointment by the Kremlin, and added that he didn't see a possibility of a return to direct elections even in 100 years.
In August 2009, Medvedev promised to break the near-monopoly of ruling party United Russia over the political system, stating that "New democratic times are beginning". On 11 October 2009, regional elections were won by United Russia with 66% of the vote. Medvedev stated that this proved the party's moral and legal right to run the regions. But according to Liliya Shibanova, head of independent poll watchdog GOLOS Association, "political competition is practically zero". Pro-Western opposition parties claimed the playing fields were uneven. On 26 October 2009, the First Deputy Chief of Staff Vladislav Surkov, warned that democratic experiments could result in more instability and that more instability "could rip Russia apart". On November 6, 2010, Medvedev vetoed a recently passed bill which restricted antigovernment demonstrations. The bill, passed on October 22, notably prohibited anyone who had previously been convicted of organizing an illegal mass rally from seeking permission to stage a demonstration.
Main article: Medvedev modernisation programme
In October, 2009, Medvedev stated that he didn't wish the oil price to return back to the record levels seen in 2008. Instead, he said a price between $80 and $90 a barrel would be fair. "Russia has no interest in an endlessly high oil price. If it were to cost that much, we’d never change the structure of our economy... We haven’t done anything in the last 10 years because oil kept rushing higher and higher."
In November 2010, on his annual speech to the Federal Assembly Medvedev stressed for greater privatization of unneeded state assets both at the federal and regional level, and that Russia's regions must sell-off non-core assets to help fund post-crisis spending, following in the footsteps of the state's planned $32 billion 3-year asset sales. Medvedev said the money from privatisation should be used to help modernise the economy and the regions should be rewarded for finding their own sources of cash.
Medvedev said on many occasions that the Internal Ministry (responsible for Police) should become more effective. On 6 September 2009, he signed a decree abolishing the federal Interior Ministry’s department for the fight against organized crime and terrorism (DBOPiT), along with the corresponding Interior Ministry units in the federal districts and the regional anti-organized crime departments (UBOPs); and on their basis he created new units tasked with fighting extremism. Under the decree, anti-organized crime functions will be transferred to the Interior Ministry’s criminal investigation and anti-economic crime departments.
President Medvedev initiated new policy called “Our New School” and instructed the government to present a review on the implementation of the initiative every year.
The first meeting between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama, before the G20 summit in London on 1 April 2009.
Medvedev meeting with Ahmadinejad in Baku.
BRIC leaders in 2008 - Manmohan Singh, Dmitry Medvedev, Hu Jintao and Lula da Silva.
President Dmitry Medvedev at the 2nd ASEAN-Russia Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, October 30, 2010.
In August, during the third month of Medvedev's presidency, Russia took part in the 2008 South Ossetia war with Georgia, which drove tension in Russian-American relations to a post-Cold War high. On 26 August, following a unanimous vote of the Federal Assembly of Russia, Medvedev issued a presidential decree officially recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, an action condemned by the G7. On 31 August 2008, Medvedev announced a shift in the Russian foreign policy under his government, built around five main principles:
Fundamental principles of international law are supreme.
The world will be multipolar.
Russia will not seek confrontation with other nations.
Russia will protect its citizens wherever they are.
Russia will develop ties in friendly regions.
In his address to the parliament on 5 November 2008 he also promised to deploy the Iskander missile system and radar-jamming facilities in Kaliningrad Oblast to counter the U. S. missile defence system in Eastern Europe. Following U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement on 17 September 2009, that Washington would not deploy missile-defense elements in the Czech Republic and Poland, Dmitry Medvedev said he decided against deploying Iskander missiles in Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast.
Relationship with Putin
Although the Russian constitution clearly apportions the majority of power to the president, speculation has arisen over the question of whether it is Medvedev or Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who actually wields the most power. According to The Daily Telegraph, "Kremlin-watchers" note that Medvedev uses the more formal form of 'you' (Вы, 'vy') when addressing Putin, while Putin addresses Medvedev with the more informal 'ty' (ты). According to a poll conducted in September 2009 by the Levada Center in which 1,600 Russians from across Russia took part, 13% believed Medvedev held the most power, 32% Putin, and 48% both (7% failed to answer).
However Medvedev has affirmed his position of strength, stating, "I am the leader of this state, I am the head of this state, and the division of power is based on this."Officially the Kremlin insists that the power of the Head of State still rests with the President Medvedev, not the Prime Minister.
Medvedev is married and has a son named Ilya (born 1995). 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.
Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana Medvedeva.
Medvedev is a devoted fan of English hard rock, listing Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, and Deep Purple 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. During a visit to Serbia, Medvedev received the Order of St. Sava for "his contribution to the unity of the world Orthodoxy and his love to the Serbian people", it is the highest award of the Serbian Orthodox church.
Despite a busy schedule, Medvedev always reserves an hour each morning and again each evening to swim and weight trains. 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 he is also a fan of the Harry Potter books after asking JK Rowling for her autograph when they met during the G-20 London Summit in April 2009. He is also a fan of football and follows his hometown professional football team, FC Zenit Saint Petersburg. And since he has been living in Moscow he supports PFC CSKA Moscow as well.
Medvedev is an avid amateur photographer. In January 2010, one of his photographs was sold at a charity auction for 51 million rubles (US$1,750,000), making it one of the most expensive ever sold.
Medvedev keeps an aquarium in his office and cares for his fish himself.Medvedev owns a Neva Masquerade male cat named Dorofei. Dorofei used to fight with a cat belonging to Mikhail Gorbachev—who was Medvedev's neighbor—so the Medvedevs had to have Dorofei 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 "Zolotye 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. (The word medved means "bear" in Russian and the surname "Medvedev" is a patronymic which means "bear's"). Medvedev is familiar with this phenomenon and takes no offence, stating that the web meme has the right to exist.
Medvedev is competent in English, but due in part to protocol, he only speaks Russian in interviews.
Medvedev stands 1.62 m (5 ft 4 in) tall. According to journalist Jon Henley, Medvedev was either the shortest world leader or the second shortest after Kim Jong-il as of 2008 (both are 1.62 m (5 ft 4 in) tall). Shortly before running for president, he lost weight and changed his hairstyle.
Medvedev videoblog posted after his visit to Latin America in November 2008.
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). 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 27 July 2004, from multiple perspectives — scholarly, jurisprudential, practical, enforcement- and implementation-related.
In October 2008, President Medvedev began posting a videoblog at the presidential website kremlin.ru (English). His videoblog posts have also been posted in the official LiveJournal community "blog_medvedev" since 21 April 2009 by the Kremlin administration.
On 13 April 2009, Medvedev gave a major interview to the Novaya Gazeta newspaper. The interview was the first one he had ever given to a Russian print publication and covered such issues as civil society and the social contract, transparency of public officials and Internet development.