Russia's Medvedev Reflects on Rise to Power, Religion and Rock Music

Russia's president talks about rock music, and his career and religion.

ByABC News via logo
April 12, 2010, 10:11 PM

April 13, 2010— -- Even though Dmitry Medvedev grew up in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Western influences breached the barriers, and he developed a deep love of rock music and for bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Pink Floyd.

As a teenager, Medvedev saved for months to buy a copy of Pink Floyd's "The Wall," an album the band released in 1979.

"Although I lived behind the Soviet Iron Curtain, the music seeped through. We listened to what the whole planet listened to," the Russian president told "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview Friday.

Fresh from signing the new START nuclear arms treaty with U.S. President Barack Obama, Medvedev opened up about his youth, his love of technology and his commitment to religion.

Medvedev is a former law professor and businessman who wears his BlackBerry smartphone on his belt, and at 44, he's the youngest Russian leader in more than a century.

In his youth he lived in Leningrad -- now known as St. Petersburg -- in a 430-square-foot apartment with his parents. Both were professors -- his father, of physics and his mother of Russian literature. Medvedev followed in his academic parents' footsteps, becoming a law professor.

He married his childhood friend and sweetheart, Svetlana. The couple's son, Ilya, was born in 1995.

Medvedev cut his political teeth while the Soviet Union was crumbling, working side by side in the St. Petersburg mayor's office with a former KGB officer named Vladimir Putin.

Their political stars rose in tandem.

When Putin became prime minister, Medvedev was his chief of staff, and then was Putin's handpicked successor to the office of president in 2008. The two remain close friends.

But Medvedev has been dogged by allegations that he is little more than Putin's puppet. It is an accusation he flatly denies.