NY Times: Russian President-To-Be Charming And Likes Deep Purple

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In this morning’s New York Times, C.J. Chivers penned an unusually glowing profile of anoited Russian president-to-be Dmitri Medvedev. Among other things, “he said liberty was necessary for the state to have legitimacy among its citizens” and he “struck a campy pose” by hamming it up with ’60s metal relics Deep Purple. Oh yeah: Medvedev also has “a dormitory-life playfulness that is decidedly not Putinesque” and “emanates intelligence and calm but little intensity.”

So what could inspire such a softball take on Vladimir Putin‘s number two? We decided to ask Michael Idov, a writer for New York mag and the editor of Russia! magazine:

The article hit on every currently available talking point; but, of course, examining the man’s few recent speeches for hints of future policy is a completely useless pursuit. Sure he sounded a few liberal notes: if Medvedev’s assigned role *wasn’t* to be a softer, more palatable frontman, then what else would he be there for? I also wouldn’t place much trust in the think-tank types, who are scrambling for a coherent take on the matter as furiously as Barack and Hillary in Tuesday’s debate. Putin’s Russia is, as one Moscow politician puts it, “a black box with an oil pipe sticking out of it,” and Medvedev’s real role won’t be clear until after May – when he’ll either be allowed to bring his St. Petersburg buddies into the government or he won’t.

Meanwhile, Russian expat mag The Exile has put together a foreign correspondent’s guide to the Russian election and the unofficial Dmitri Medvedev iPod playlist.

Oh yeah. If the iPod list confuses you… Medvedev is 5’4″. Just think of him as the Tom Cruise of Russia.

(Image via De Morgen)