Three-time winner: Putin tops Forbes’ ‘most powerful people’ list

For the third year in a row, Forbes has ranked the Russian President as the most powerful person in the world, putting Vladimir Putin above Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama.

“Putin continues to prove he’s one of the few men in the world powerful enough to do what he wants,” the magazine said.

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Putin’s ratings haven’t suffered a bit – even after sanctions imposed by the Western countries and Russia’s deepening recession. On the contrary, his approval ratings in Russia have rocketed up to almost 90 percent.

Russia’s ongoing anti-terror operation in Syria, in which targeted airstrikes have already killed hundreds of militants, destroyed tons of terrorist hardware and much of their infrastructure, as well as Putin’s face-to-face meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad have contributed to “making the US and NATO look weak in the region, and helping rebuild Russian influence abroad,” Forbes noted.

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Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world according to Forbes, has risen from fifth place last year to second place in 2015. Her strong stances when dealing with the influx of Syrian refugees and the Greek financial crisis brought her up to the new level.

Barack Obama wasn’t so lucky this year, giving way to both Putin and Merkel and coming in third. In the closing stages of his second term in office, Obama is losing influence and power. However, Forbes still lauds the United States as “the world’s greatest economic, cultural, diplomatic, technological and military power.”
“The men and women who are featured on Forbes’ annual ranking of the World’s Most Powerful People are the 0.00000001% – the global elite whose actions move the planet. These heads of state, financiers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs truly run the world,” the magazine says in describing its list.

Forbes considers hundreds of candidates from various spheres and bases its decision on four criteria.

The first is whether the person has influence over lots of other people. A good example here is Pope Francis, who is regarded as a spiritual leader by more than a billion people, and thus came in forth.

The second criterion is the financial condition of a candidate. Heads of the states were compared according to their countries’ GDPs, and CEOs by their companies’ revenues. Personal financial assets were also taken into consideration, which obviously helped Bill Gates secure sixth place.

The number of “spheres” over which a candidate has power is the third criteria.

Lastly, it is also important how actively and successfully a candidate wields their power.

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“Any ranking of the world’s most powerful people is going to be subjective, so we don’t pretend ours is definitive. It’s meant to be the beginning of a conversation, not the final word,” Forbes concluded.