Skip to comments.Svetlana Medvedev no babushka (New Russian First Lady)
Posted on 03/07/2008 4:37:04 AM PST by Loyalist
Renowned for her penchant for parties, Russia's first-lady-in-waiting is toning down her socialite image, concentrating on church and charity work as her husband prepares to move into his Kremlin office.
Svetlana Medvedev, 42, wife of president-elect Dmitry Medvedev, has been a fixture on Moscow's social circuit and at fashion shows and has a reputation as a deft organizer of charity functions at home and abroad, especially in France and Italy. She's also friends with Russia's top fashion designers, pop stars and movie directors.
Her exuberant personality and fondness for fine clothing have drawn some comparisons with Raisa Gorbachev, the stylish late wife of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Ms. Gorbachev broke the Soviet mould for leaders' wives by accompanying her husband everywhere.
But most Russians, unused to a front-and-centre first lady, never warmed to Ms. Gorbachev. They also felt uncomfortable with Mr. Gorbachev's obvious devotion to his wife, which, in the Russian patriarchal culture, diminished his image as a strong leader.
Perhaps because of the comparison, Ms. Medvedev has toned down her socialite image in the past few months, appearing more frequently in business attire and taking pains to emphasize her volunteer and church work. She heads a youth education project, set up by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei 11, designed to provide opportunities and spiritual growth to young Russians.
"If she starts something, you can be certain she will do it well," Father Kiprian Yashchenko told the Moscow Times recently. In November, the church presented her with a medal for her efforts.
Still, if there is a high-profile film or fashion event, it's a good bet Ms. Medvedev will be there.
Last month, she nabbed a front-row seat at the Russian equivalent of the Oscars, arriving at the event in a black mink coat with two bodyguards. She and renowned filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov kissed and hugged when they spotted one another.
Blond and toothy with a wide smile, Ms. Medvedev has other other high-profile friends, including Russian fashion designer Valentin Yudashkin and pop singer Alla Pugacheva.
She's also on a first-name basis with many of Milan's fashion elite after spending the past two years supervising a city twinning project between St. Petersburg and Milan.
"She is stylish and has a certain cultural level," Mario Botelli, president of the Italian Fashion Chamber, told an Italian newspaper. "She is in love with our country and its history."
Despite Ms. Medvedev's love of the high life, it appears the Medvedevs have a solid, even traditional, relationship.
By all accounts - and Russian accounts are carefully doled out by Kremlin image-makers - Mr. and Ms. Medvedev were childhood sweethearts from their first days at School 305 in St. Petersburg.
By his early teenage years, Mr. Medvedev, now 42, was smitten by the blond beauty and they married in 1989. In an interview earlier this year, he told a reporter how he felt: "I lost interest in lessons. It was much more interesting to walk with my future wife than to sit with my textbooks."
In a subsequent interview, Mr. Medvedev made it clear that despite his devotion to his wife, theirs is a traditional Russian marriage in which the husband is at the family helm. Ms. Medvedev graduated from a St. Petersburg economic institute, but after their son Ilia's birth in 1996, Mr. Medvedev said he insisted she stay at home.
"It is the normal logic of a man who wants to have a strong and reliable support at his back," he said. "I explained [to her] that for the family, in my view, it would be better if the wife stays at home." She agreed.
But that doesn't mean she has stayed in the house. Last summer, Ms. Medvedev was the main attraction at the couple's 25th high-school reunion in St. Petersburg, which she helped organize. She wore a stylish white suit; her husband donned a T-shirt. She also organized a Russian art festival in Cannes.
Ms. Medvedev is said to have encouraged her husband, who began his career as a law teacher, to leave academia for politics and business. More recently, she encouraged him to get into better shape. He now swims every day and practises yoga.
Ms. Medvedev's image also sharply differs from that of current first lady, Lyudmila Putin, a former flight attendant, who is rarely seen at public events. In an authorized biography of President Vladimir Putin, she said her husband set out two rules in their marriage: "A woman must do everything in the household," she said. The second: "One should not praise a woman; otherwise you will spoil her."
She looks nice. Now let’s see his mistresses pics.
Great tune by a great artist.
The WWII Russian guys liked you?
She looks healthy.
Did you know Lonetree?
“Id hit it. Twice.”
Ugh... Looks like she has been hit.. several times.. with an ugly stick. Have you no standards?
There are plenty of decent grandmothers out there (GMILF, as it were...)
>At 42, Svetlana seems to have nicely avoided the dreaded “Ed McMahon syndrome” that normally hits Russian women her age.<
Ed is very slim now, in his eighties!
Something to look forward to!
are those pictures still available on the internet?
Does not compute . . . .
Can you imagine Slick licking his chops thinking of showing her around town while the spouses have meetings?
She doesn’t have typical russian teeth, she must get them done on Milan when she’s there buying clothes.
For a look at Kruschev’s wife.
Place your hand over the boob part of your computer screen and look up....up...no, don't remove your hand and go back to ogling. Look up....and behold a 40 year old Chelsea.
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