Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is the 3rd and current President of
Russia, inaugurated on May 7, 2008. He won the presidential election held on
March 2, 2008 with about 70% of the vote. Formerly Vladimir Putin's chief of
staff, he was also the Chairman of Gazprom's board of directors, a post he had
held since 2000. On December 10, 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 December 17, 2007. Medvedev had
never held elective office before 2008.
Medvedev is a Putin protégé, a fixture in his administrations dating back to
Putin’s appointment as prime minister in 1999. Their relationship, however,
dates back to the early 1990s when they worked together in the city government
of St. Petersburg. In November 2005, Putin tapped Medvedev for the newly created
deputy prime minister position. The appointment fueled speculation that Medvedev
would become Putin’s chosen successor. That speculation shifted to then-Defense
Minister Sergei Ivanov and later to Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov.
On December 10, 2007, Putin announced his support for Medvedev in the 2008
presidential elections. The informal endorsement came at a Kremlin appearance
with Putin, Medevedev, United Russia party leader Boris Gryzlov, A Just Russia
leader Sergei Mironov, and the leaders of two smaller parties. All present
sounded their agreement with the president’s choice. One week later, United
Russia, the country’s largest political party which had just won a
constitutional super majority in parliamentary elections two weeks earlier,
formally nominated Medvedev as their candidate in a near unanimous decision. On
Dec. 11, 2007, Medvedev said, if elected, he would ask Putin to serve as his
prime minister. Following Medvedev's success in the 2008 presidential elections,
Putin was indeed nominated by the latter to be Russia's Prime Minister and took
the post on May 8, 2008.
By trade, Medvedev is a lawyer. He received a law degree and doctorate from St.
Petersburg University. During his time as president, Putin’s support for
Medvedev was widely viewed as a blow to those in the Kremlin with backgrounds in
the secret service known as the “siloviki.”