May 5, 2008 / 11:55 AM / 11 years ago

FACTBOX: Key facts on Russia's Dmitry Medvedev

(Reuters) - Dmitry Medvedev will be sworn in as Russian president in a Kremlin ceremony on Wednesday, taking over the job from his mentor Vladimir Putin and becoming the youngest ruler since Tsar Nicholas II.

Following are key sections of Medvedev’s life and career:


Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev was born Sept, 14, 1965. His parents were teachers and he grew up in a 40 square meter (430 square ft) flat in a suburb of Leningrad, as St Petersburg was then called.

He says his favorite childhood books were the Soviet Encyclopaedia — similar to the Encyclopaedia Britannica — and Jules Verne’s “Children of Captain Grant”.

“He was a leader, people listened to him. He is calm, disciplined and confident,” said Irina Grigorovskaya, his mathematics teacher at school No. 305, where he met his future wife. “He was well read from a young age and he read a lot.”

Medvedev says the family never starved and holidayed on the Black Sea, a typical Soviet middle-class destination, but money was sometimes too short to buy the records he dreamed of.

A fan of British rock bands Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Deep Purple, Medvedev said he became disillusioned with Soviet propaganda.

Medvedev was christened into the Russian Orthodox church aged 23 in St Petersburg.


Medvedev went to study law, graduating from the law department of St Petersburg University in 1987. The faculty later became a source of the local and then Kremlin elite.

Putin graduated from the same faculty in 1975 and Anatoly Sobchak, Putin’s political mentor and later mayor of St Petersburg, taught there.

“He was one of the bright sparks from civil law,” said Nikolai Kropachev, current dean of the law faculty who worked with Medvedev in the 1990s. “If you asked him to find two solutions to a problem, he would find three, or find a solution no one had ever found before.”

Medvedev submitted a well-received dissertation and went on to teach civil law at the faculty, where he insisted students have a good grasp of Latin.

He also worked for the external relations committee of the St Petersburg mayor’s office where he established a friendship with Putin, who was working for the mayor after returning from a KGB posting to Dresden.


While still teaching and working at the mayor’s office, Medvedev moved into Russia’s business world.

“He started practicing as a lawyer,” law faculty dean Kropachev said. “In the 1990s completely new legislation had appeared and ... there was massive demand for lawyers.”

Medvedev worked as a key lawyer for the Ilim Pulp paper firm, even helping to found the firm, though colleagues say he was never treated as an equal by the firm’s owners.


After Putin was appointed prime minister in August 1999, he invited Medvedev to Moscow, appointing him deputy head of the government administration in November.

The ailing head of state Boris Yeltsin made Putin acting president on the last day of 1999, and Putin appointed Medvedev as a deputy to his chief-of-staff, Alexander Voloshin.

Medvedev worked as chief of Putin’s election campaign in March 2000. He was elected Gazprom board chairman in June 2000 and played a key role in Putin’s plan to reassert the Kremlin’s control over the gas giant.

When Voloshin resigned in October 2003 over the arrest of Yukos owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Medvedev was appointed chief-of-staff, one of Russian politics’ most powerful posts.

In 2005, Putin moved Medvedev to the government, making him a first deputy prime minister and giving him responsibility for carrying out national projects to improve healthcare, education, housing and agriculture.

Putin announced Medvedev was his favored candidate for president on December 10 last year, virtually guaranteeing his protege election victory. The next day Medvedev said he wanted Putin to become his prime minister.

Medvedev won the March 2 presidential election with just over 70 percent of the vote. He pledged that once in office he would continue Putin’s policies.

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