Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev (Дмитрий Анатольевич Медедев) is the president-elect of Russia. He will succeed President Vladimir Putin after an inauguration ceremony in May. He is currently a first deputy prime minister and chairs the board of directors at state-run gas monopoly, Gazprom. Medvedev has never held elected office.
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 fuelled speculation that Medvedev would become Putin’s chosen successor. That speculation shifted to then-Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov and later to Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov.
Medvedev hasn’t taken up Putin’s mantle of “sovereign democracy” – a term used to describe democracy managed by domestic interests – for Russia. The idea arose during Putin’s second term. “I still don’t like this term. In my opinion as a lawyer, playing up one feature of a full-fledged democracy – namely the supremacy of state authorities within the country and their independence (from influences) outside the country – is excessive and even harmful because it is disorienting,” Medvedev said in a July 2007 interview.
Medvedev’s has called for an end to the practice of placing state officials on the boards of major corporations. Medvedev himself sat on the board of Gazprom, and Russia is almost unique in Europe in that senior government officials double up as board members of nearly every significant business in the country. “I think there is no reason for the majority of state officials to sit on the boards of those firms,” Medvedev said. “They should be replaced by truly independent directors, which the state would hire to implement its plans."