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For other people named Dmitry Medvedev, see Dmitry Medvedev (disambiguation).
In this name that follows Eastern Slavic naming conventions, the patronymic is Anatolyevich and the family name is Medvedev.
|Medvedev in 2016|
|Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia|
16 January 2020
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Leader of United Russia|
30 May 2012
|Secretary General||Andrey Turchak|
|Preceded by||Vladimir Putin|
|Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union State|
18 July 2012 – 16 January 2020
|Secretary General||Grigory Rapota|
|Preceded by||Vladimir Putin|
|Succeeded by||Mikhail Mishustin|
|Prime Minister of Russia|
8 May 2012 – 16 January 2020
|First Deputy||Viktor Zubkov|
|Preceded by||Viktor Zubkov (acting)|
|Succeeded by||Mikhail Mishustin|
|President of Russia|
7 May 2008 – 7 May 2012
|Prime Minister||Vladimir Putin|
|Preceded by||Vladimir Putin|
|Succeeded by||Vladimir Putin|
|First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia|
14 November 2005 – 12 May 2008Serving with Sergei Ivanov
|Prime Minister||Mikhail Fradkov|
|Preceded by||Mikhail Kasyanov|
|Succeeded by||Viktor Zubkov|
|Chief of Staff of the Kremlin|
30 October 2003 – 14 November 2005
|Preceded by||Alexander Voloshin|
|Succeeded by||Sergey Sobyanin|
|Born||Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev|
14 September 1965 (age 57)
Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (now Saint Petersburg, Russia)
|Political party||United Russia|
|Spouse||Svetlana Linnik (m.1993)|
|Parent||Anatoly Medvedev (father)|
|Education||Leningrad State University|
|Branch/service||Russian Armed Forces|
|Years of service||2008-2012|
|Rank||Colonel1st class Active State Councillor of the Russian Federation|
|Battles/wars||Russo-Georgian WarInsurgency in the North Caucasus|
|Dmitry Medvedev’s voice 5:17Recorded 30 November 2008|
Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev (Russian: Дмитрий Анатольевич Медведев, IPA: [ˈdmʲitrʲɪj ɐnɐˈtolʲjɪvʲɪtɕ mʲɪdˈvʲedʲɪf]; born 14 September 1965) is a Russian politician who has been serving as the deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia since 2020. Medvedev also served as the president of Russia between 2008 and 2012 and as the prime minister of Russia between 2012 and 2020.
Medvedev was elected president in the 2008 election. He was regarded as more liberal than his predecessor, Vladimir Putin, who was also appointed prime minister during Medvedev’s presidency. Medvedev’s top agenda as president was a wide-ranging modernisation programme, aiming at modernising Russia’s economy and society, and lessening the country’s reliance on oil and gas. During Medvedev’s tenure, the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty was signed by Russia and the United States, Russia emerged victorious in the Russo-Georgian War, and recovered from the Great Recession. Medvedev also launched an anti-corruption campaign, despite later being accused of corruption himself.
He served a single term in office and was succeeded by Putin following the 2012 presidential election. Medvedev was then appointed by Putin as prime minister. He resigned along with the rest of the government on 15 January 2020 to allow Putin to make sweeping constitutional changes; he was succeeded by Mikhail Mishustin on 16 January 2020. On the same day, Putin appointed Medvedev to the new office of deputy chairman of the Security Council.
In the views of some analysts, Medvedev’s presidency did seem to promise positive changes, both at home and in ties with the West, signaling “the possibility of a new, more liberal period in Russian politics”; however, he later seemed to adopt increasingly authoritarian and anti-West positions.
|This article is part of|
a series aboutDmitry Medvedev
|Former Prime Minister of Russia|
Former President of RussiaEarly lifePolitical viewsMedvedev DoctrineElections2008 (campaign)PresidencyConstitutional reformEconomic reformInaugurationInternational tripsPolice reformObama-Medvedev CommissionPremiershipFirst cabinetSecond cabinetMedia gallery
Early life and education
Dmitry Medvedev in 1967, at approximately 2 years old
Dmitry Medvedev was born on 14 September 1965 in Leningrad, in the Soviet Union. His father, Anatoly Afanasyevich Medvedev (November 1926 – 2004), was a chemical engineer teaching at the Leningrad State Institute of Technology. Dmitry’s mother, Yulia Veniaminovna Medvedeva (née Shaposhnikova, born 21 November 1939), studied languages at Voronezh University and taught Russian at Herzen State Pedagogical University. Later, she would also work as a tour guide at Pavlovsk Palace. The Medvedevs lived in a 40m2 apartment at 6 Bela Kun Street in the Kupchino Municipal Okrug (district) of Leningrad. Dmitry was his parents’ only child. The Medvedevs were regarded at the time as a Soviet intelligentsia family. His maternal grandparents were Ukrainians whose surname was Kovalev, originally Koval. Medvedev traces his family roots to the Belgorod region.
As a child, Medvedev was intellectually curious, described by his first grade teacher Vera Smirnova as a “dreadful why-asker”. After school, he would spend some time playing with his friends before hurrying home to work on his assignments. In the third grade, Medvedev studied the ten-volume Small Soviet Encyclopedia belonging to his father. In the second and third grades, he showed interest in dinosaurs and memorised primary Earth’s geologic development periods, from the Archean up to the Cenozoic. In the fourth and fifth grades he demonstrated interest in chemistry, conducting elementary experiments. He was involved to some degree with sport. In grade seven, his adolescent curiosity blossomed through his relationship with Svetlana Linnik, his future wife, who was studying at the same school in a parallel class. This apparently affected Medvedev’s school performance. He calls the school’s final exams in 1982 a “tough period when I had to mobilize my abilities to the utmost for the first time in my life.”
Student years and academic career
The Faculty of Law building of Saint Petersburg State University, the place where Medvedev studied and later taught
In the autumn of 1982, 17-year-old Medvedev enrolled at Leningrad State University to study law. Although he also considered studying linguistics, Medvedev later said he never regretted his choice, finding his chosen subject increasingly fascinating, stating that he was lucky “to have chosen a field that genuinely interested him and that it was really ‘his thing'”. Fellow students described Medvedev as a correct and diplomatic person who in debates presented his arguments firmly, without offending.
During his student years, Medvedev was a fan of the English rock bands Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple. He was also fond of sports, and participated in athletic competitions in rowing and weight-lifting.
He graduated from the Leningrad State University Faculty of Law in 1987 (together with Ilya Yeliseyev, Anton Ivanov, Nikolay Vinnichenko and Konstantin Chuychenko, who later became associates). After graduating, Medvedev considered joining the prosecutor’s office to become an investigator however, he took an opportunity to pursue graduate studies as the civil law chair, deciding to accept three budget-funded post-graduate students to work at the chair itself.
In 1990, Medvedev defended his dissertation titled, “Problems of Realisation of Civil Juridical Personality of State Enterprise” and received his Doctor of Juridical Science (Candidate of Juridical Sciences) degree in civil law.
Anatoly Sobchak, a major democratic politician of the 1980s and 1990s was one of Medvedev’s professors at the university. 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.
After Sobchak’s election campaign Medvedev continued his academic career in the position of docent at his alma mater, now renamed Saint Petersburg State University. He taught civil and Roman law until 1999. According to one student, Medvedev was a popular teacher; “strict but not harsh”. During his tenure Medvedev co-wrote a popular three-volume civil law textbook which over the years has sold a million copies. Medvedev also worked at a small law consultancy firm which he had founded with his friends Anton Ivanov and Ilya Yeliseyev, to supplement his academic salary.
Career in St Petersburg
Facade of the Smolny Institute, meeting place of the City Hall’s Committee for Foreign Affairs, where Medvedev worked as a consultant
In 1990, Anatoly Sobchak returned from Moscow to become chairman of the Leningrad City Council. Sobchak hired Medvedev who had previously headed his election campaign. One of Sobchak’s former students, Vladimir Putin, became an adviser. The next summer, Sobchak was elected Mayor of the city, and Medvedev became a consultant to City Hall’s Committee for Foreign Affairs. It was headed by Putin.
In November 1993, Medvedev became the legal affairs director of Ilim Pulp Enterprise (ILP), a St. Petersburg-based timber company. Medvedev aided the company in developing a strategy as the firm launched a significant expansion. Medvedev received 20% of the company’s stock. In the next seven years Ilim Pulp Enterprise became Russia’s largest lumber company with an annual revenue of around $500 million. Medvedev sold his shares in ILP in 1999. He then took his first job at the central government of Russia. The profits realised by Medvedev are unknown.
Career in the central government
Medvedev with Vladimir Putin on 27 March 2000, a day after Putin’s victory in the presidential election
In June 1996, Medvedev’s colleague Vladimir Putin was brought into the Russian presidential administration. Three years later, on 16 August 1999, he became Prime Minister of Russia. Three months later, in November 1999, Medvedev became one of several from St. Petersburg brought in by Vladimir Putin to top government positions in Moscow. On 31 December, he was appointed deputy head of the presidential staff, becoming one of the politicians closest to future President Putin. On 17 January 2000, Dmitry Medvedev was promoted to 1st class Active State Councillor of the Russian Federation (the highest federal state civilian service rank) by the Decree signed by Vladimir Putin as acting President of Russia. During the 2000 presidential elections, he was Putin’s campaign manager. Putin won the election with 52.94% of the popular vote. Medvedev was quoted after the election commenting he thoroughly enjoyed the work and the responsibility calling it “a test of strength”.
As president, Putin launched a campaign against corrupt oligarchs and economic mismanagement. He appointed Medvedev chairman of gas company Gazprom‘s board of directors in 2000 with Alexei Miller. Medvedev put an end to the large-scale tax evasion and asset stripping by the previous corrupt management. Medvedev then served as deputy chair from 2001 to 2002, becoming chair for the second time in June 2002, a position which he held until his ascension to presidency in 2008. During Medvedev’s tenure, Gazprom’s debts were restructured and the company’s market capitalisation grew from $7.8 billion in 2000 to $300 billion in early 2008. Medvedev headed Russia’s negotiations with Ukraine and Belarus during gas price disputes.
In October 2003, Medvedev replaced Alexander Voloshin as presidential chief of staff. In November 2005, Medvedev moved from the presidential administration of the government when Putin appointed him as first deputy prime minister of Russia. In particular, Medvedev was made responsible for the implementation of the National Priority Projects focusing on improving public health, education, housing and agriculture. The program saw an increase of wages in healthcare and education and construction of new apartments but its funding, 4% of the federal budget, was not enough to significantly overhaul Russia’s infrastructure. According to opinion polls, most Russians believed the money invested in the projects had been spent ineffectively.
Dmitry Medvedev official portrait in 2007
Following his appointment as first deputy prime minister, many political observers began to regard Medvedev as a potential candidate for the 2008 presidential elections, although Western observers widely believed Medvedev was too liberal and too pro-Western for Putin to endorse him as a candidate. Instead, Western observers expected the candidate to arise from the ranks of the so-called siloviki, security and military officials many of whom were appointed to high positions during Putin’s presidency. The silovik Sergei Ivanov and the administrator-specialist Viktor Zubkov were seen as the strongest candidates. In opinion polls which asked Russians to pick their favourite successor to Putin from a list of candidates not containing Putin himself, Medvedev often came out first, beating Ivanov and Zubkov as well as the opposition candidates. In November 2006, Medvedev’s trust rating was 17%, more than double than that of Ivanov. Medvedev’s popularity was probably boosted by his high-profile role in the National Priority Projects.
Many observers were surprised when on 10 December 2007, President Putin introduced Medvedev as his preferred successor. This 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. Describing his reasons for endorsing Medvedev, Putin said:
I am confident that he will be a good president and an effective manager. But besides other things, there is this personal chemistry: I trust him. I just trust him.
2008 presidential election
Main article: 2008 Russian presidential election
Medvedev’s election campaign took advantage of Putin’s high popularity and his endorsement of Medvedev.
As 2 March 2008 election approached, the outgoing president, Vladimir Putin, remained the country’s most popular politician. An opinion poll by Russia’s independent polling organisation, 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 was immediately held. The other main contenders, the Communist Gennady Zyuganov and the LDPR‘s Vladimir Zhirinovsky both received in 9% in the same poll. Much of Putin’s popularity transferred to his chosen candidate, with 42% of the survey responders saying that Medvedev’s strength came from Putin’s support to him.
In his first speech after being endorsed, Medvedev stated 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. 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 the 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 portrayed the pair side by side with the slogan “Together We Win” (“Вместе победим”). Medvedev vowed to work closely with Putin once elected.
In December 2007, in preparation for his election campaign, Medvedev promised that funding of the National Priority Projects would be raised by 260 billion rubles for 2008. Medvedev’s election campaign was relatively low-key and, like his predecessor, Medvedev refused to take part in televised debates, citing his high workload as first deputy prime minister as the reason. Instead, Medvedev preferred to present his views on his election website Medvedev2008.ru.
In January 2008, Medvedev launched his campaign with stops in the oblasts. On 22 January 2008, Medvedev held what was effectively his first campaign speech at Russia’s second Civic Forum, advocating a liberal-conservative agenda for modernising Russia. Medvedev argued that Russia needed “decades of stable development” because the country had “exhausted its share of revolutions and social upheavals back in the twentieth century”. Medvedev therefore emphasised liberal modernisation while still aiming to continue his predecessor’s agenda of stabilisation. On 15 February 2008, Medvedev held a keynote speech at the Fifth Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum, saying that:
Freedom is better than non-freedom – this principle should be at the core of our politics. I mean freedom in all its manifestations – personal freedom, economic freedom and, finally, freedom of expression.
In the Krasnoyarsk speech, Medvedev harshly condemned Russia’s “legal nihilism” and highlighted the need to ensure the independence of the country’s judicial system and the need for an anti-corruption program. Economically, Medvedev advocated private property, economic deregulation and lower taxes. According to him, Russia’s economy should be modernised by focusing on four “I”s: institutions, infrastructure, innovation and investment.
Medvedev with Putin on election day on 2 March 2008
President-elect Medvedev with Vladimir Putin in 2008
Medvedev was elected President of Russia on 2 March 2008. The final election results gave him 70.28% (52,530,712) of votes with a turnout of 69.78% of registered voters. The main contenders, Gennady Zyuganov and Vladimir Zhirinovsky received 17.72% and 9.35% respectively. Three-quarters of Medvedev’s vote was Putin’s electorate. According to surveys, had Putin and Medvedev both run for president in the same elections, Medvedev would have received 9% of the vote.
The fairness of the election was disputed by international observers. 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 analysed 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%.
Main article: Presidency of Dmitry Medvedev
Taking the presidential oath in the Grand Kremlin Palace on 7 May 2008
On 7 May 2008, Dmitry Medvedev took an oath as the third president of the Russian Federation in a ceremony held in the Grand Kremlin Palace. After taking the oath of office and receiving a gold chain of double-headed eagles symbolising 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.
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.
Medvedev with Putin in 2008
From the beginning of Medvedev’s tenure, the nature of his presidency and his relationship with Putin was subject to considerable media speculation. In a unique situation in the Russian Federation’s political history, the constitutionally powerful president was now flanked with a highly influential prime minister (Putin), who also remained the country’s most popular politician. Previous prime ministers had proven to be almost completely subordinate to the president and none of them had enjoyed strong public approval, with Yevgeny Primakov and Putin’s previous tenure (1999–2000) as prime minister under Boris Yeltsin being the only exceptions. Journalists quickly dubbed the new system with a practically dual-headed executive as “government by tandem” or “tandemocracy”, with Medvedev and Putin called the “ruling tandem”.
Daniel Treisman has argued that early in Medvedev’s presidency, Putin seemed ready to disengage and started withdrawing to the background. In the first year of Medvedev’s presidency, two external events threatening Russia—the late-2000s financial crisis and the 2008 South Ossetia war—changed Putin’s plans and caused him to resume a stronger role in Russian politics.
Main external events
2008 Russo-Georgian War
Main article: Russo-Georgian War
Russian invasion in Russo-Georgian War
Presidential decree recognising South Ossetia‘s independence, signed by Medvedev on 26 August 2008
The long-lingering conflict between Georgia and the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which were supported by Russia, escalated during the summer of 2008. On 1 August 2008, the Russian-backed South Ossetian forces started shelling Georgian villages, with a sporadic response from Georgian peacekeepers in the area. Intensifying artillery attacks by the South Ossetians broke a 1992 ceasefire agreement. To put an end to these attacks, the Georgian army units were sent in to the South Ossetian conflict zone on 7 August. Georgian troops took control of most of Tskhinvali, a separatist stronghold, in hours.
At the time of the attack, Medvedev was on vacation and Putin was attending the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At about 1:00 a.m on 8 August, Medvedev held a telephone conversation with the Defence Minister, Anatoliy Serdyukov. It is likely that during this conversation, Medvedev authorised the use of force against Georgia. The next day, Medvedev released a statement, in which he said:
Last night, Georgian troops committed what amounts to an act of aggression against Russian peacekeepers and the civilian population in South Ossetia … In accordance with the Constitution and the federal laws, as President of the Russian Federation it is my duty to protect the lives and dignity of Russian citizens wherever they may be. It is these circumstances that dictate the steps we will take now. We will not allow the deaths of our fellow citizens to go unpunished. The perpetrators will receive the punishment they deserve.
— Dmitry Medvedev on 8 August 2008
In the early hours of 8 August, Russian military forces launched a counter-offensive against Georgian troops. After five days of heavy fighting, all Georgian forces were routed from South Ossetia and Abkhazia. On 12 August, Medvedev ended the Russian military operation, entitled “Operation to force Georgia into peace”. Later on the same day, a peace deal brokered by the French and EU president, Nicolas Sarkozy, was signed between the warring parties. On 26 August, after being unanimously passed by the State Duma, Medvedev signed a decree recognising South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. The five-day conflict cost the lives of 48 Russian soldiers, including 10 peacekeepers, while the casualties for Georgia was 170 soldiers and 14 policemen.
The Russian popular opinion of the military intervention was broadly positive, not just among the supporters of the government, but across the political spectrum. Medvedev’s popularity ratings soared by around 10 percentage points to over 70%, due to what was seen as his effective handling of the war.
Shortly in the aftermath of the conflict, Medvedev formulated a 5-point strategy of the Russian foreign policy, which has become known as the Medvedev Doctrine. On 30 September 2009, the European Union–sponsored Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia stated that, while preceded by months of mutual provocations, “open hostilities began with a large-scale Georgian military operation against the town of Tskhinvali and the surrounding areas, launched in the night of 7 to 8 August 2008”.
2008–09 economic crisis
In September 2008, Russia was hit by repercussions of the global financial crisis. Before this, Russian officials, such as the Finance Minister, Alexei Kudrin, had said they believed Russia would be safe, due to its stable macroeconomic situation and substantial reserves accumulated during the years of growth. Despite this, the recession proved to be the worst in the history of Russia, and the country’s GDP fell by over 8% in 2009. The government’s response was to use over a trillion rubles (more than $40 billion U.S. Dollars) to help troubled banks, and initiated a large-scale stimulus programme, lending $50 billion to struggling companies. No major banks collapsed, and minor failures were handled in an effective way. The economic situation stabilised in 2009, but substantial growth did not resume until 2010. Medvedev’s approval ratings declined during the crisis, dropping from 83% in September 2008 to 68% in April 2009, before recovering to 72% in October 2009 following improvements in the economy.
According to some analysts, the economic crisis, together with the 2008 South Ossetia war, delayed Medvedev’s liberal programme. Instead of launching the reforms, the government and the presidency had to focus their efforts on anti-crisis measures and handling the foreign policy implications of the war.
Model of a GLONASS-K satellite. Medvedev made space technology and telecommunications one of the priority areas of his modernisation programme.