Medvedev was born on Sept. 14, 1965, in Leningrad (now St.
Petersburg) to parents – both university professors – steeped in the
intellectual culture of the Soviet Union’s most liberal city. His father,
Anatoly, was a physicist who taught at a polytechnic institute, and his mother,
Yulia, taught Russian language and literature.
Medvedev grew up in a 400-square-foot apartment in the Kupchino, a Leningrad
suburb. Money was tight, and he recalled a frugal Soviet upbringing. He attended
School No. 305. His parents tried to push him toward an interest in science, but
from the beginning, he showed an interest in law. From an early age, he enjoyed
foreign rock music that resided on the blacklist in Soviet times. In the
tradition of the times, he obsessively collected copies of groups like Led
Zeppelin and Deep Purple, through a practice known as “samizdat.”
In seventh grade, he met his future wife, Svetlana. They
married several years after their graduation from secondary school in 1982
(the photo above shows them together).
They have a son named Ilya (born 1996).
Medvedev entered law school at
Leningrad State University in the autumn of 1982. More
than a decade apart, both Medvedev and Putin took courses from Anatoly Sobchak,
an outspoken Democrat and the future mayor of St. Petersburg. As a student,
Medvedev supplemented his stipend by working in construction and as a street
cleaner. At age 23, he chose to be baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church,
which held no favor with the Soviet government of the time.
He graduated in 1987 and then decided
to continue on to a doctorate which he completed in 1990. He specialized in
private, corporate and securities law. Fellow students said he wore a suit and
carried a briefcase.
Medvedev is shorter than his presidential
predecessor, Putin, at 5 feet, 4 inches. He swims nearly one mile, twice a day.
He also jogs, plays chess, and practices yoga. Medvedev is often described as
studious, mild-mannered and quiet. As his public profile heightened, he learned
to speak more directly, lost weight and his features became more chiseled. He
still enjoys classic rock music. His favorite band, Deep Purple, played
at his going away party as Gazprom’s chairman in