4 years & counting: Putin again tops Forbes ‘most influential’ list as Obama sinks to 48th place
“Russia’s president has exerted his country’s influence in nearly every corner of the globe; from the motherland to Syria to the US presidential elections. Putin continues to get what he wants,” Forbes argued, adding that the Russian President’s “reach” on global affairs “has magnified in recent years.”
Picking up on the claims of Moscow’s alleged interference in the US elections, initially promoted by Hillary Clinton’s camp, as well as the claims of the US President-elect Donald Trump’s connections to Russia, the magazine went on to say that “in 2016 Russian hackers were accused of tapping into email accounts owned by members of the US Democratic Party in a bid to aid the campaign of Donald Trump, who has regularly praised Putin's leadership style.”
Trump placed second on Forbes’ list, outdoing Angela Merkel, who thus dropped to the third place in the ranking.
However, it was the outgoing US President Barack Obama’s fall from grace in the magazine’s list that appeared to be the most striking.
Obama, who was placed third last year, dropped 45 places and found himself squeezed between Haruhiko Kuroda, the head of Japan’s central bank, and Khalid Al-Falih, the petroleum minister of oil-rich Saudi Arabia.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was ranked above Obama, retaining his 43th place.
Most Powerful People 2016 https://t.co/jcKhSIjGse Forbes: Putin #1 influential peson #2 Trump #3 Merkel Obama #48 after #43 Kim Jong-un! Ha— tatianyc.oeuvre (@tatianycoeuvre) 14 декабря 2016 г.
Explaining Obama’s slump in the ranking, Forbes cited concerns that US is poised to undergo major political changes under the Trump administration, which might effectively render obsolete the “signature achievements” in internal as well as in external policy associated with Obama’s two terms in office. Obamacare health reform and the Iranian nuclear deal are both hanging in the balance, as Trump has on many occasions threatened to get rid of them, partially or completely.
The magazine, however, commended the lame duck president as “the 44th leader of the free world will likely still retain influence as a kingmaker in the Democratic Party,” although he has not unveiled his career plans for after January 2017.
The Obama’s sudden fall down the list did not fail to catch attention of commentators on Twitter.
Alexey Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s Parliament, attributed part of Obama’s downfall to his persistent efforts to isolate Russia.
Обама совсем поседеет, узнав, что Путин на 1-ом месте по влиянию в списке Форбс, а он - на 48-ом. Он все пытался нас изолировать. Вот и итог— Алексей Пушков (@Alexey_Pushkov) 14 декабря 2016 г.
“Obama’s hair will turn white when he finds out that Putin is No. 1 on Forbes most powerful persons list, and he is on 48th. He kept trying to isolate us. This is the outcome,” Pushkov wrote.
Commenting on Forbes’ hierarchy, Political Editor of the London Evening Standard Joe Murphy defined it as “a painful end to Obama's presidency.”
This is a painful end to Obama's presidency:— Joe Murphy (@JoeMurphyLondon) 14 декабря 2016 г.
"Putin the world's most powerful person; Trump second: Forbes "https://t.co/WGi7UWp3NV
“@Forbes thinks Putin is the most powerful person in the world and I absolutely agree. Not good for Obama's legacy,” @royalJb5 echoed the general attitude.
Radio host and former police officer John Cardillo found even stronger words with regards to Obama’s legacy, predicting that Trump will continue his rise next year.
While it does seem fairly predictable, that the future US President might land in a top three, some commentators took this as a chance to point on alleged connection between the two.
The user that goes on Twitter under the name “Darth Putin” even devised a conspiracy poll, asking subscribers to vote for who is to blame for Putin’s “most powerful man in the world” title.
Among the listed options are WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the FBI head and the Donald.
So @Forbes have named me "most powerful man in the world". Who helped me the most achieve this?— Darth Putin (@DarthPutinKGB) 14 декабря 2016 г.
Another one suggested that by placing Putin on top and leaving Trump second, Forbes seeks to spark a rift between the two leaders.
Forbes just named Vladimir Putin the most powerful person in the world, Trump is second.— Yashar (@yashar) 14 декабря 2016 г.
What if Forbes leads to Trump turning on Putin?!?
Elsewhere in Forbes’ ranking, Chinese leader Xi Jinping was placed forth, Pope Francis, “a spiritual leader to nearly one-sixth of the world’s population” was put on the fifth place, while India’s Prime Minister Narenda Modi on the ninth became the last country leader of the top 10.