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Happy-Go-Lucky Medvedev

Writing in The Telegraph, Andrew Osborn quotes several sources who note the “sunny” and “cheerful” disposition of President Dmitry Medvedev, underscored by a lack of results (notably the fact that the lawyer for the YouTube whistle blowing cop has already been stabbed for defending him).

“Medvedev is warmer and sunnier,” said one former senior US intelligence official. “But he does not want to change things that much. He believes in what might be called ‘venture liberalism’ – trying out various things, but not really getting serious.”

Nina Khrushcheva, granddaughter of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, describes Mr Medvedev’s job in the Kremlin in rather less flattering terms. His role, as she sees it, is not so much as president but as first lady.

“The cheerful facade is composed of Russia’s miniature president, Dmitry Medvedev, whose job, like that of America’s first lady, is to keep up appearances,” she said. “And the appearance that needs the most maintenance is that of a modern and civilised Russia.”