From: Reuters
Published January 21, 2008 01:21 PM

Russia's Medvedev says too hard-up to own a car

By Guy Faulconbridge

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's likely future president, Dmitry Medvedev, does not have a car of his own and the only family transport is his wife's nine-year-old Volkswagen Golf, an official income declaration showed on Monday.

The modest means set out in the declaration submitted to election officials contrast sharply with the funds he controls: he is chairman of gas giant Gazprom which in 2006 notched up a net profit of about $13 billion.

President Vladimir Putin, who has to step down as president at the end of his second term in May, backed Medvedev last month as his favored candidate in the March 2 election. Putin's support makes Medvedev a near-certainty to win the election.

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Medvedev took home about $71,000 in pay per year over the past four years, the election commission said in an official declaration on its www.cikrf.ru Web site.

But the only car in the Medvedev household is a 1999 Volkswagen Golf car owned by his wife, Svetlana, according to the declaration.

Medvedev, a 42-year-old former lawyer, has a 367.8 square meter (3959 square ft) flat in Moscow and a 4,700 square meter (half an hectare) plot of land outside Moscow.

He also has savings of 2.74 million roubles ($111,200). His wife has just one bank account with 380.2 roubles on deposit.

The Russian media has treated such declarations of income with much scorn, saying senior Kremlin officials live a lavish lifestyle with many of their expenses subsidized by the state.

Medvedev, a first deputy prime minister, like most senior officials is ferried around in a chauffeur-driven limousine with a bodyguard.

The declarations by the Kremlin elite are tiny compared to the money being divided up by Moscow's investment bankers, lawyers and businessmen, who can take home much more than $1 million a year.

Putin declared an income of about $81,000 last year when he ran for parliament. The Kremlin chief said he owned a small flat in St Petersburg and a plot of land outside Moscow.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Richard Balmforth)

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