Medvedev In St. Pete Group

Dmitry Medvedev belongs to a group nicknamed the St. Pete jurists, whose members have been elevated to various federal positions since Vladimir Putin became president in 2000.

The group, many of whose members are from St. Petersburg and studied law, stands to see its profile boosted with Putin's endorsement of Medvedev as the next president this week.

Kommersant, citing an unidentified Kremlin official, reported Tuesday that among Medvedev's close allies are Igor Shuvalov, the presidential aide in charge of the economy; Arkady Dvorkovich, head of the presidential administration's expert department; and Natalya Timakova, a senior Kremlin spokeswoman.

In the Cabinet, Medvedev's purported allies include Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiullina, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev and Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko.

Vladimir Pribylovsky, who tracks Kremlin politics with Panorama, a think tank, noted that several of Medvedev's classmates in the law department at Leningrad State University also occupy positions of power, including Anton Ivanov, chairman of the Supreme Arbitration Court, and his deputy, Yelena Valyavina; Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Gutsan; and Nikolai Vinnichenko, head of the Federal Court Marshals Service.