McFaul, 47, who taught political science at Stanford University before Obama moved into the White House in January 2009, is considered a main architect of the “reset” policy in U.S.-Russian relations announced by Vice President Joe Biden in February 2009.
He is also director of the National Security Council and co-head of the bilateral Civil Society Working Group, a duty he shares with Vladislav Surkov, Medvedev’s deputy chief of staff and political ideologist. If confirmed by the Senate, McFaul would replace John Beyrle, named during the last days of George W. Bush’s presidency in 2008.
In May, The New York Times cited anonymous sources as saying that McFaul would be Obama’s pick. The newspaper also said McFaul would be the first ambassador to Russia in 30 years who is not a career diplomat.