Russia Discovers President Medvedev's Son's Secret Acting Career

The 16-year-old boy briefly starred in a children's comedy show

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The Moscow tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda uncovered some information on Wednesday that had eluded the Russian public for years: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's 16-year-old son Ilya had starred in two episodes of a children's comedy show called Yeralash ("havoc") that were shot in 2006 and 2007 before Medvedev became president, and aired shortly thereafter. According to Russia Today, crew members are insisting that Ilya--whose named appeared in the show's credits--obtained his role after a rigorous casting process and describing him as "a lively boy, with a touch of acting brilliance" (the show's artistic director isn't commenting on the news).

The Russian press is now all over the story. The radio station Echo of Moscow, for example, is quoting unnamed sources close to Medvedev's family as confirming Komsomolskaya Pravda's report, and comparing images of the boy in Yeralash with pictures of Ilya (verdict: the resemblance is striking). Komsomolskaya Pravda, oddly enough, appears to have removed the original report from its website.

The clips are a must-see. In this episode--entitled "The Hero"--Ilya plays a karate-kicking boy who, inspired by an X-Men movie, wreaks slapstick havoc on an action-movie set after trying to save the love-struck heroine.

The Yeralash crew must have liked what they saw in "The Hero," because the second episode--"Shoot Me"--essentially repeats the "Hero" formula several times over. A clueless, attention-craving Ilya keeps ruining action-movie scenes, enraging the director. The boy ultimately flies away in a hot-air balloon:

What's Ilya up to now? Russian news outlets are complaining that they know little about Medvedev's only child (the brief section about Ilya on the Kremlin's website doesn't mention the show). But the reports indicate he hasn't appeared on screen since his Yeralash days and is currently a high school student studying English, French, and Italian. He also reportedly has a passion for computers, sports, and Linkin Park. It's unclear whether he's maintained his karate skills.

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