Dmitri Medvedev loves Vladimir Putin

Guess what? Medvedev won!

This FT profile is the best I’ve seen, even tells us a little about his upbringing. The key points: Medvedev’s known Putin for a very long time, since they both worked for Sobchak in the early 90s. He’s been a key aide since the beginning, deputy chief of staff, chief of staff, chairman of Gazprom, deputy PM. He’s very loyal. He never sticked his head out, tried to build his own powerbase, or took initiatives.

At least he:

“took on the management of Gazprom at a time when they were a power unto themselves,” says one western executive who worked with him at that time. “People have this image of him being shy and retiring. But if he knows he has the backing of the boss, he can be pretty tough.”

The question is if Medvedev eventually will become the de facto head. The aura and de jure powers of the presidency would be reasons he might. The profile doesn’t make it seem too near at hand, though their close relation could mean he at least will be a genuine junior partner. Another question would be what could happen if Putin would die or partly retire.

Mr Putin needs to stay on as prime minister and as ultimate arbiter because without that presence, hardline groups would “eat him alive”, the senior banker says of Mr Medvedev.

But Medvedev doesn’t seem like a complete nonentity to me. I guess. Really, I make no predictions.

Make your own.

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