Who is he?:
He's the man who became president of the Russia Federation
without having to actually run for the presidency. The blessing of Vladimir Putin
-- who enjoyed a high approval rating in his eight years at the helm of the former Soviet Union -- worked better for Dmitry Medvedev than a thousand stump speeches or any of the presidential debates that, according to Medvedev's wishes, never happened.
Born Sept. 14, 1965, in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).
He holds a law degree from St. Petersburg University, and is married to his childhood sweetheart, Svetlana. They have one son, Ilya, born in 1996. He is a fan of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin; Deep Purple rocked a party for Medvedev when he left Gazprom in February 2008.
Independent, but backed by Putin's United Russia party and others. Medvedev -- who had never previously held elected office -- came to the presidential ticket as chairman of government-owned Gazprom, the largest company in Russia and the world's largest natural gas-operation.
After Putin was named prime minister in 1999, Medvedev had a constant presence in Putin's administration. In 2000, Medvedev spearheaded Putin's presidential campaign; in October 2003, he became chief of staff at the Kremlin. Medvedev was appointed to the newly created first deputy prime minister post in 2005. He was propped up in popularity by Putin putting him at the helm of several national projects that sunk billions of roubles into social programs, health care, farming, and education.
It's assumed that Medvedev, technocrat to the core, fully understands the shadow role he'll play in a government where the center of power will likely shift to a Prime Minister Putin. But as Putin's terms were aimed at returning Russia to the superpower status it enjoyed during the Soviet era, those policies also included crackdowns on the free press and political opponents. Medvedev comes into power at a time of rockier relations between Russia and the U.S. and European Union. If Medvedev turns out to be much more than a "yes" man to Putin over the next four years, it will surprise many Kremlin watchers.
"The Russian economy will not only realize our historical mandate of the Euroasian energy and transport centre. We will also restore our position as one of the largest scientific centers and turn our financial market into one of the most efficient and popular markets in the world." -- Medvedev to the World Economic Forum in 2007
Made by Putin:
Termed out of office on May 7, 2008, Putin, eager to continue his legacy that many have considered a backslide to autocratic rule, on Dec. 10, 2007, publicly supported first deputy prime minister Medvedev for the March 2, 2008, elections. On Dec. 11, 2007, Medvedev announced his intention to name Putin prime minister. During the campaign -- in which opposition candidates such as chess legend Garry Kasparov were not qualified for the ballot by the Central Election Commission -- Putin announced his intention to run at the head of the United Russia party slate in his quest for a prime minister appointment. This heightened suspicions that Putin was looking for a puppet successor and continued power through a potentially strengthened prime minister position.
By the time Putin neared the end of his terms, Medvedev had been groomed to a "T" by his predecessor -- and enjoyed national popularity due to the clever hand of President Putin. Some had speculated that Putin would have tipped his ushanka to another first deputy prime minister, onetime defense minister Sergei Ivanov, and were surprised when Medvedev was the chosen one.