Dmitry Medvedev: biography
Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is one of the brightest political figures in the Russian government. At the moment, he is the Chairman of the Russian government. In 2008-2012, he was the third President of Russia. Before that, he was the Chairman of the OAO “Gazprom” board of directors.
Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev was born on September 14, 1965, in the dormitory district on Leningrad into the family of teachers. His parents Anatoly Afanasyevich and Yulia Veniaminovna worked as teachers in the pedagogical and technical universities. Dima was the only child who received the utmost care and parents’ attention: they tried to develop the best qualities in their son and instill the love of studying in him.
They managed to do so – at school number 305 where Medvedev received his education, the boy demonstrated his splendid abilities; he was eager to learn and revealed the interest in sciences. The teachers remember him as an industrious, disciplined, and calm student who could rarely be seen outside with his peers – he spent all his time studying.
Having finished school, Dmitry Medvedev entered the Pushkin Leningrad State University, Faculty of Law, in 1982. He manifested himself as a successful student with the qualities of a leader. As a student, the would-be Prime Minister was fond of rock music, photography, and weightlifting. In 1990, he defended a thesis and became the Candidate of Juridical Sciences.
The politician said that he used to work part-time as a yard-keeper. He was paid 120 rubles which was a significant sum of money in addition to his increased scholarship – 50 rubles.
Since 1988, Dmitry Medvedev was a teacher at the Pushkin Leningrad State University and taught students civil and Roman law. Along with this, he acted as a scientist; he became a co-author in the three-volume textbook “Civil Law” for which he wrote 4 chapters.
Medvedev’s political career began in 1990. At that time, he became the “favorite” assistant of the first Saint Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak. In a year, he was included in the City Hall's Committee for Foreign Affairs where he worked as an expert under Vladimir Putin’s guidance.
At that time, Anatoly Sobchak became a kind of “guide” to the world of big politics for beginning politicians. Thanks to him, many high-ranking civil servants and Russian state personalities from his team are at their current positions.
In the 1990s, the future Prime Minister of Russia was active in business. In 1993, he became the co-founder of OAO “Frintsel” who had 50% of the company’s stock. At that time, Dmitry Medvedev became the legal affairs director of Ilim Pulp Enterprise that was engaged in the forest products industry. In 1994, Dmitry Anatolyevich became the member of the OAO “Bratskiy Lesopromyshlennyy Kompleks” senior executives team.
The Prime Minster of Russia
In 1999, Dmitry Medvedev’s career took the political turn. As Vladimir Putin became the leader of the Russian government, Medvedev became his assistant in Saint Petersburg Mayor’s office. In 2000, in accordance with the new Russian President Vladimir Putin’s act, Medvedev was appointed the deputy head of the presidential administration.
In 2003, after the presidential chief of staff Alexander Voloshin resigned, the politician took his place. Simultaneously, he joined the Security Council and got the status of its permanent member. In 2006, when the pre-electoral campaign commenced, many analytical sources predicted that Dmitry Anatolyevich would become the Russian President and considered him to be Putin’s favorite.
In the media, there were rumors that, two years before the elections, the Kremlin initiated the project “The Successor” curated by Natalya Timakova. The prognoses proved correct: in 2007, Vladimir Putin and the members of the political party “United Russia” supported Dmitry Medvedev as the presidential candidate.
As soon as Dmitry Anatolyevich started appearing in newspapers and on TV, people noticed his unusual resemblance to the emperor Nicholas II. Some sources started publishing the theories about reincarnation or a conspiracy which could be put to practice by a person similar to the emperor. Others spoke about the fate: since Medvedev’s appearance was so characteristic, he was meant to rule the country.
Conspiracy theories surrounded the popular politician. On the Internet, there were web-sites that claimed all personal information of Dmitry Medvedev was faked to keep in secret he was Jewish and his real surname was Mendel. The official Kremlin representatives do not comment on these theories and consider them unworthy of politicians’ attention.
The President of Russia
On March 2, 2008, Dmitry Medvedev won the presidential elections with 70% votes in his favor. In May, the inauguration of the youngest Russian President took place. During the ceremony, Medvedev marked the priority goals and emphasized that his primary tasks would be the development of economic and civil freedom and creation of new civil opportunities.
The first acts of the third Russian President dealt with the social sphere development: education, health care, veterans’ living conditions improvement. Natalya Timakova became the press secretary of the president – she was the first woman who took this position in Russia.
In 2009, Medvedev published his article “Go, Russia!” in which he expressed his views and provided points regarding the modernization of the country. The most important project of the young Russian leader was the creation of the Skolkovo Innovation Center – “The Russian Silicon Valley” – on the territory of which the innovative complex was erected. Its work was aimed at the development and concentration of the international intellectual capital.
Medvedev also had to handle the 5-day war with Georgia that began in the context of the conflict in South Ossetia. Dmitry Anatolyevich signed the order according to which Russian troops were sent to protect Russia’s southern neighbor. As a result, the Georgian army was defeated. At that time, there was a surge in patriotism, and the Russian society supported Medvedev’s foreign politics in general.
As a President, Dmitry Medvedev continued Putin’s politics in the sphere of agriculture and social and economic development of the country. The reorganization of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the abolition of the winter time, and changes in the Russian Constitution related to the extension of the presidential term from 4 to 6 years became the resonating acts. The national anti-corruption bureau establishment is also among Dmitry Medvedev’s achievements.
Dmitry Anatolyevich’s trip to the USA, the Silicon Valley, attracted public attention. In this trip, the Russian President met the idol of millions, the leader of the company “Apple” Steve Jobs. The purpose of this meeting was to talk about new technologies and the IT market development perspectives in order to help create the analog of the Silicon Valley in Russia – Skolkovo. At the end of the meeting, Steve Jobs gave Medvedev iPhone 4 which was new at that time as the present – the smartphone was to be sold only the next day after the meeting.
To people’s surprise, when the President came back to Russia, he did not use the present. The press tried to find a political subtext in it, but the actual situation was much simpler. Medveved got the smartphone with the American net binding, and iPhone just stopped working in Russia. Many American smartphone users who wanted to buy a cheap gadget are acquainted with this problem, so there is an illegal services sector which can provide the opportunity to override the interlock. However, it is impossible to imagine the head of the state using the hacked phone.
The president’s fondness for new technologies, especially in communication, led not only to the creation of Skolkovo but also the new approach in the Russian politics and interaction with people. Dmitry Medvedev created a blog on the Live Journal platform as the means of quick and direct connection with the president. Although this way was novel, it received public appreciation and began to develop actively.
Soon, Dmitry Anatolyevich registered in the social networks Vkontakte and Facebook, and his press secretary addressed the sites’ audience to use the new communication channels to discuss relevant problems and events, not to crack jokes or express oneself. Besides, the politician has an Instagram account with 2.6 million followers, even though there are not so many pictures posted. On Medvedev’s Instagram, there are the photos of the colorful Russian nature and photos from official events and trips.
Medvedev likes communication technologies, but technologies do not always like him. During the Russian President’s speech translation on Latvian TV, there was a glitch, and the title “The president of Latvia” appeared under Dmitry Medvedev’s name. This moment was screenshotted by one of the TV viewers who posted the picture on the Internet. The one-second glitch provoked a wave of humor and conspiracy theories.
In 2011, during the party “United Russia” session, Medvedev announced that Vladimir Putin who worked as the Prime Minister at that time should run for the presidency. This statement received a standing ovation from the session members and delegates – about 10 thousand people. In 2012, after Vladimir Putin’s victory in elections, Dmitry Medvedev became the Chairperson of the Russian government; he also became the leader of the political party “United Russia” a little later.
Kremlin civil servants consider Dmitry Medvedev to be an excellent administrator, a skilled lawyer, and an honest, innovative person whose thinking is creative. As media report, the colleagues and associates call Dmitry Anatolyevich “Vizier” or “Nano-president” which is likely to be connected with his fondness of new technologies and height – according to unofficial information, Medvedev’s height is 163 cm.
In 2015, several sites with the Ukrainian hosting published “the urgent news”: it was reported that the Prime Minister of Russia died in a plane crash. According to the text which was the exact copy of one and the same source, the plane flew from Sheremetyevo and crashed two minutes after it took off. Except for the head of the Russian government, “there were” the minister of defense Sergey Shoygu, the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, and the head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov on board the plane. Many media and Medvedev himself immediately refuted the fake news. However, it was not enough – next year, the same text appeared on various web-sites and confused media again.
Humor and scandals
The latter events in the Prime Minister’s work and his initiatives attract much public attention, often in the negative and comic contexts. Many of his utterances turn into memes and go viral on the Internet in less than a day.
In May 2016, the media started citing the scandalous words by Medvedev: “There is no money but be strong” in reply to the low pensions complaint. The phrase appeared in almost all media; with some variations, it was published in comedy sites and social networks.
While some people were creating new jokes, others were outraged that the government refused to take care of the senior citizens. As it turned out, the scandalous phrase was taken out of the context: in fact, Dmitry Anatolyevich promised a pensioner that the adjustment of pensions would take place a little later when the opportunity will be available; as he was leaving, he wished her to be strong and added other warm wishes.
Summer 2016 was marked with another odious phrase by the Prime Minister. At this time, during the forum “Territory of Meanings,” Dmitry Anatolyevich expressed his opinion about teachers. Answering the question about educators’ low wages, Medvedev responded that a teacher would always find a chance to make some money, and if a person wanted to earn a lot, they should consider changing their profession and take up business.
This idea provoked a heated public judgment: people were sure that teachers and other state employees should receive decent wages, not choose between their mission and wealth. Many teachers considered Medvedev’s words to be humiliating.
In fall of the same year, the Internet cited Dmitry Anatolyevich again. During the agreement execution ceremony in the context of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council session, Medvedev half-jokingly suggested that the classic sort of coffee “Americano” be renamed to “Rusiano.” The society immediately took this initiative: many cafes included the new drink in menus, and some of them even offered a discount to those who would order the coffee and call it by its new name.
However, critics were also involved in this comic episode: they connected this idea with “hooray-patriotism” and believed that the prime minister wasted his time on weird ideas instead of doing his job in a proper way.
Dmitry Medvedev’s personal life is as clear, transparent, and steady as his political career. He met Svetlana Linnik, the daughter of a military officer, at school. Medvedev’s would-be wife was the first beauty who was popular among men at school and at the financial and economic university. Svetlana chose the calm, perspective, and intelligent person as her partner. The wedding ceremony took place in 1989.
At present, Medvedev’s wife works in Moscow and organizes public events in her home city Saint Petersburg. Svetlana Medvedeva was the leader of the youth-aimed program “Spiritual and moral culture of younger generation of Russia.” Upon her initiative, in 2008, the new holiday “Family Day” was introduced in Russia.
In 1996, the son Ilya was born. Since 2012, he is the student of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He entered the university on the usual terms due to his good state examination results: 94 in English and 87 in Russian, and he received 95 out of 100 for the additional test.
Ilya Medvedev also tried acting and starred in one episode of the comic TV program “Yeralash.” The young man dreamed of the acting career, but, as he saw himself on the screen, he realized it was not his cup of tea.
Now, Ilya Medvedev successfully graduated from the Moscow State University and considers the career of a corporate lawyer. Ilya is Dmitry Medvedev’s only child, and the official sources claim he has no other children which does not prevent various sites and newspapers spread rumors about Dmitry Medvedev’s personal life.
The Prime Minister’s family love animals. They have many pets: “the first cat of the country” Dorofey, a couple of English setters, a golden retriever, and a Central Asian shepherd dog.
Besides, Dmitry Anatolyevich is fond of photography; he has even taken part in prestigious exhibitions. Still, the political career does not make it easy: as Medvedev himself admits, with his status, he would be understood in a wrong way if he started taking photos of the surrounding people.
Dmitry Anatolyevich’s personal life attracts as much attention as his political career. In 2011, the Internet was blown up by the bad-quality video in which Medvedev was dancing to “American Boy” in the company of the famous comedian Garik Martirosyan. For some time, the video was the most popular in the top YouTube materials. The story about dancing was frequently interpreted in TV show KVN, and many jokes and montaged videos appeared.
Dmitry Medvedev did not get angry or deny anything. On Twitter, he said that he was dancing on the class reunion party which had taken place a year before the video leaked on the Internet. Medvedev also explained the choice of the music: it was necessary to keep the atmosphere of their university time – the party guests listened to this kind of music when they were young. Naturally, the music tastes changed in the course of time. Nowadays, Dmitry Medvedev is a fan of rock music: he listens to Deep Purple and Linkin Park.
Stars and politicians took Dmitry Anatolyevich’s side: they complained that the concept of private life was absent in Russia. The society also supported Medvedev: people believed that a politician dancing at a party was an ordinary phenomenon while recording relaxed people at a private party secretly was to be criticized.
Medvedev’s finances also interest people of the country. According to the latest official data, in 2014, his income was a little less than ₽8 million which was twice as much as his 2013 income.
In 2015, the Prime Minister’s declared income increased a little: ₽8.9 million. There were no significant changes in Medvedev’s property: he was the owner of the 350 m2 apartment and two cars, GAZ-20 and GAZ-21.