Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is one of the world’s smallest leaders. There have been reports saying that he is only 5’2″ tall (rumours which led to Medvedev being dubbed the world’s first Nano-President), which would place him on a par with the diminutive Napoleon, but actually according to Wikipedia, Medvedev’s height is 5’4″ (1.62m).
This makes him even shorter than Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whose height has never officially been revealed (although I hope it’s not actually a state secret!). Putin’s height is estimated to be 5’7, or 170cm tall.
Medvedev (and Putin, for that matter) both tend to look much taller in photographs, however. This is partly down to good PR management – not picking photos that make the President look short, and not having photo ops next to tall people. Medvedev is also rumoured to wear platform shoes with 2.5 inch heels to increase his stature, something which came in very handy in a recent photo shoot with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In comparison with most other world leaders, Medvedev comes up short. He is an inch shorter than French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a man who is said to be extremely sensitive about his lack of stature and, according to the BBC, going to extreme lengths to conceal his true height in front of the cameras.
The same BBC article provides a fascinating graphic that compares Medvedev’s height to that of other world leaders. The picture above shows that leaders such as US President Barack Obama (6’1″) and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown (5’11″) tower above him. This shouldn’t be a problem in negotiations, where leaders are usually seated, but must present some real challenges in the obligatory summit photographs. I would imagine that the Russian President’s PR staff must be involved in some quite delicate negotiations about how to address Medvedev’s height from time to time.