Russian prime ministers are often swiftly forgotten. Few, like Vladimir Putin himself, have gone on to greater things.

Since taking over as prime minister in January, Mikhail Mishustin has promoted himself out of the first group. The tech-savvy former tax chief became the face of the government’s coronavirus response after Putin, early on, faded from view. He’s pushing through an ambitious national spending program that’s dear to the president. His personal popularity has been rising. And, in November, he tightened his hold on the domestic agenda with a cabinet reshuffle.

It’s far too soon to say if he’ll join the second category, with more than three years to go to the end of Putin’s current term.