It turns out that Nicholas II Is back! Former president (and current prime minister) Dmitry Medvedev is widely viewed as a reincarnation of Nicholas II. So say tour guides who revile Nicholas as a weak-willed and utterly devoid of character (thus the apparently scandalous portrait by Serov above, showing not an emperor but a weakling fading to grey) and those who adoringly fawn on the last tsar as their darling “Nicky.” Friends confirm that many people insist on the uncanny Nicholas II/Medvedev resemblance. Okay, but what does that MEAN? Is his reign on the brink of collapse? Is Putin in fact Rasputin? On that point, to quote Pushkin, “the people remain silent” (народ безмолвствует).