February 6, 2008 / 12:49 PM / 12 years ago

Russia's Medvedev secures rock-for-gas deal

MOSCOW, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Deep Purple are heading for Moscow as a farewell gift to Dmitry Medvedev, the chairman of gas giant Gazprom and almost certainly Russia’s next president.

Medvedev has told interviewers Deep Purple, known for hits such as “Smoke on the Water”, are his favourite band.

The rock group will perform at a show Gazprom is putting on at the Kremlin to mark the 15th anniversary of the firm’s creation, industry sources told Reuters.

Both Medvedev and outgoing president Vladimir Putin are expected at the party on Feb. 11. The British band’s management declined to comment.

The first deputy prime minister and 70 other political figures and businessmen brought Deep Purple’s former lead singer to Moscow last year for a secret concert, local media reported.

Putin, hugely popular at home, has all but guaranteed Medvedev’s victory in a March 2 presidential election after naming him as his preferred successor.

Putin is known to enjoy patriotic Russian pop songs. It was not clear if the concert line-up would have anything to suit his tastes.

If Medvedev becomes president, he will resign as Gazprom chairman. Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov is expected to take over the job in June.

Gazprom, Russia’s most valuable firm by market capitalisation and one of top 10 in the world, is enjoying record profits due to high global energy prices.

Moscow is rated one of the most expensive cities in the world and wealthy entrepreneurs spend millions of dollars every year on flying in celebrities for parties and celebrations. (Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by Robert Woodward)

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