Steven Lee Meyers in the New York Times Magazine:
Ivanov, who is 54, is a leading contender to become only the third elected president in Russia’s history, replacing Vladimir V. Putin, the steely, steady president who, according to the country’s adolescent Constitution, must step down early in 2008 after two full terms in office. At least he is presumed to be a contender, just as there is presumed to be an election, scheduled for March 2, 2008.
Ivanov has never expressed the desire to be president — neither in public nor, as far as anyone who knows will tell, in private. Neither has Dmitri A. Medvedev, the other first deputy prime minister and the other presumed-to-be-leading candidate. Nor have Valentina I. Matviyenko, the energetic governor of St. Petersburg; Vladimir I. Yakunin, another former K.G.B. agent who heads the state-owned Russian Railways; Sergei S. Sobyanin, a former governor and the president’s chief of staff; Dmitri N. Kozak, the presidential envoy to the turbulent Caucasus; Boris V. Gryzlov, the speaker of the lower house of Parliament; Sergei M. Mironov, the chairman of the upper house; or Sergei V. Chemizov, director of the state arms-marketing monopoly who served as an intelligence officer with Putin in East Germany.