Russian president's son 'starred in television show'
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's teenage son, who is now shielded from the public and never photographed, starred just four years ago in a children's televison show before his father become Kremlin chief, the programme's makers said.
Ilya Medvedev, now believed to be 16, starred in two sketches in long-running national television children's series Yeralash, or Jumble, the Echo of Moscow radio station reported.
"He went through normal casting. It was later that we found out who he was. He was a great boy, we liked him," the show's artistic director Boris Grachevsky told Echo of Moscow on Thursday.
The director of one of the sketches, Alexei Shcheglov, told Komsomolskaya Pravda daily: "Yes, I knew whose son Ilya was, but the filming was no different from usual."
The name Ilya Medvedev -- a common one -- appears in the credits of the sketches.
Several photographs allegedly showing Ilya Medvedev have been leaked on the Internet and the actor bears a clear resemblance to his father.
The sketches were shot in 2007 and 2008 when Dmitry Medvedev was first deputy prime minister, pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda reported. He was elected president in March 2008.
Komsomolskaya Pravda, which gave the article full prominence in its print edition, later removed the story from its website. Contacted by AFP, the Kremlin declined to comment.
The offspring of Russia's rulers are elaborately protected. Vladimir Putin's two adult daughters are never officially photographed and are believed to be living incognito.
Putin said in an interview last year he saw no need for his daughters, then university students, to become publicly known and they did not want to be.
His press secretary Dmitry Peskov told Dozhd Internet television this month that Putin wanted a "simple human life" for his daughters.
Medvedev's son, born in 1995, has been slightly less hidden from view. He reportedly played guitar with members of Deep Purple in March, and Medvedev has talked of his son's love for rock band Linkin Park.
In a sketch called "Hero", the open-faced child actor with light brown hair and blue eyes wears a reversed baseball cap.
He tries to rescue a girl tied up by villains, showing off kickboxing moves, before the punchline -- that he has strayed onto a film set and she is just acting her distress.
In another sketch, he plays a child begging a director to be in his film and elbowing his way in front of the camera at the most inappropriate moments.
© 2011 AFP