The Reuters news blogger Oleg Shchedrov is obsessed with how Dmitri Medvedev fails to live up to the muzhik image, given that he didn’t look like he was having very much fun inspecting Kalashnikov factories and sitting in Yakovlev training jet:
Dmitry Medvedev, a refined former St Petersburg lawyer picked by Putin as a preferred successor, does not look very macho right now. The first deputy prime minister in charge of social projects feels more at home among professors and students elaborating on open-source software or the benefits of judicial reforms. On Wednesday, Putin has given Medvedev a chance to show himself as a “muzhik”. A joint trip by the two to Zhukovsky, an air base outside Moscow where most of the Soviet war planes have been tested in the past 70 years, offered a lot of opportunities for Medvedev to stage a show of machismo. A line of the latest military jets designed by Sukhoi and MiG with their cockpits open invited high-profile visitors to have a go. But Medvedev was visibly unexcited.
This looks like a case of the media forcing a non-existent issue (there really isn’t all that much to gossip about in Russian politics these days anyways). Besides, could it possibly matter any less whether or not Medvedev looks sufficiently muzhik? What are voters going do, elect the curly-locked Kremlin plant Andrei Bogdanov?