Putin tops Forbes ‘most powerful’ list for 2nd year running
Forbes says its list isn’t based on political influence, but an evaluation of “hard power” – the use of military and economic means to influence the behavior or interests of other political actors.
“We insist the people on our list wield the kind of power that shapes and bends the world, and moves people, markets, armies and minds,” the magazine wrote, explaining its choice.
Putin came out top among 17 other heads of state, presiding over a combined GDP of $48 trillion. As reasons for the decision, the editors cite Russia’s acquisition of the Crimean peninsula, management of the international standoff over Ukraine and a $400 billion gas pipeline deal signed with China in May.
The business bi-weekly painted Russia under Putin’s rule in less than flattering terms, saying the country “looks more and more like an energy-rich, nuclear-tipped rogue state with an undisputed, unpredictable and unaccountable head unconstrained by world opinion in pursuit of its goals.”
Putin also won the award last year, after successfully managing to broker a deal to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.
These two Forbes awards were not the first time Putin received a qualified accolade from a Western publication.
In 2007, Time Magazine named Putin its “Man of the Year,” describing him as a “steely and determined man” who “emerged as a critical linchpin of the 21st century” and brought Russia back to the world’s focus.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama took the second spot on Forbes’ list for the second consecutive year. Describing a president who has been rattled by the Ebola outbreak and so-called Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria and Iraq, Forbes said Obama “has the power but has been too cautious to fully exercise it.”
The depiction of Obama as the hamstrung head of a hyperpower was used to justify his fall to second place in 2013.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping rounded out the top three, while Pope Francis, who has battled to bring his 1.2 billion member flock on a more liberal path, took the fourth spot.
Away from the world of politics, 39 CEOs whose firms controlled $3.6 billion in annual revenues also made the list. In the world of money and power, 29 billionaires, whose cumulative net value exceeds $790 billion, counted themselves among the world’s most power figures. For 2014, the most powerful people in business are Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who together took the ninth spot.
For a breakdown of how Forbes determines the 72 most powerful people residing over the rest of us, click here.