Trivia on Russian president-elect Dmitry Medvedev—that he is a swimmer, a yoga lover, and Deep Purple buff—merely masks a man wholly devoted to Vladimir Putin, New Yorker editor David Remnick writes. "Trivia domesticated even the worst Soviet-era résumés," he reminds us: Catherine the Great loved horses, Nicholas II photography, and Alexander III the French horn. Medvedev's pastimes are just as trivial.
What separates Putin and his protégé is style. "Medvedev is more soft-spoken, and, partly as a result, he has acquired a worldlier, more liberal image than some of his peers." Quoting a former aid to Boris Yeltsin, Remnick writes: “Medvedev has such a weak personality that he would be raped by lobbyists right on his table on the second day of his Presidency, and Putin knows this."