Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dimitry Anatolevitch Medvedev was an unknown quantity to the public until President Vladimir Putin endorsed him as his successor.
The former lawyer has been under Putin's wing since the current president's days at St. Petersburg's town hall in the early 1990s, serving as first deputy prime minister since 2005.
The 42 year-old candidate served under the current President as deputy chief of the Kremlin staff, later as chief of staff in 1999 and since June 2002, he has been chairman of state-controlled Gazprom, the world's biggest gas firm.
"He owes his nomination, his popularity, and his future presidency to one man and that man is President Vladimir Putin," says Masha Lipman, at the Carnegie Moscow Centre.
Medvedev is one of the first senior officials at the Kremlin not to have come up through the KGB, the Russian secret service.
With a reputation as an economic liberal, he recently pleased markets by saying he wants to limit the Kremlin's role in big corporations.
But with Putin still powerful and planning to stay on as prime minister, Medvedev's position could be precarious.
"We are seeing just a part of the plan, the first few scenes, and no one knows the ending - not even Medvedev - and he can't know because (Putin's) plans could change depending on Medvedev," Medvedev's former colleague told Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity. "Putin trusts Medvedev, he trusts his moderate character and dislike of risk taking. That is what he needs, but how long does it last for Medvedev? How will it work?" he said.