G-8 summit gives chance to gauge Medvedev's power
Dmitry Medvedev's grand debut on the world stage at the Group of Eight summit Monday promises insights into the riddle all Kremlinologists are trying to crack: Is he calling any of the shots as Russia's president - or is he merely a puppet of Vladimir Putin?
The very fact Medvedev is traveling alone to Japan may indicate he wields more influence than many believed. G-8 protocol, after all, is for member nations to send their most powerful leader to the gathering, whether a president or a prime minister, the AP reported.
From his high-profile hosting of a Russia-European Union summit in Siberia to brash comments made in recent interviews, there have been some signals that Medvedev, beyond expectations, may slowly be growing into his enormous job.
But Russian politics is always an enigma. If the famously wily Putin, now prime minister, has appeared to retreat to the shadows recently - at least in foreign affairs - it may be because he wants to present a new face to the West while maintaining control behind the scenes.