Are we done with Russiagate? TIME leaves Putin off ‘100 most influential’ list

21 Apr, 2018 01:57 / Updated 2 years ago
With levels of anti-Russian hysteria in the West reaching fever pitch, one would think the media tends to see Vladimir Putin under every bed these days. As it turns out, Russia’s president isn’t even on their radar any more.

Sure, the DNC might be suing Russia, Trump and WikiLeaks, and NPR might be trying to intimidate progressive activists by claiming that appearing on “Russia-backed media” will “complicate” their lives, but none of that really matters, you see. The arbiter of who’s who in America and the world, TIME magazine, just published its 2018 list of the 100 most influential people – and Putin is nowhere to be found.

TIME’s lineup includes many actors and actresses, activists, social justice celebrities and other stars of the day. One notable inclusion, in the Pioneers category, was former President Barack Obama’s praise in the TIME magazine issue of five student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Kyle Kashuv, one of the MSD students who disagrees with the quintet’s gun-control agenda, challenged Obama’s puff piece for ignoring the real influencers, the parents of two students slain in the February 14 mass shooting.

US President Donald Trump made the cut in the Leaders category, though Senator Ted Cruz’s write-up has already become a target of social media mockery.

More than anything, though, the 2018 issue was politically correct. The inclusion of Fox News pundit Sean Hannity was balanced out with NBC hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt were matched by profiles of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the latter done by former US attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara.

Praises were sung to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Kim Jong-un of North Korea was declared “the most dangerous person on the planet” by a defector. London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Prince Harry Windsor and his fiancee Meghan Markle checked off the British celebrity quota requirements.

The prime ministers of Bangladesh, Canada, Iraq, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand, as well as the presidents of Argentina, China, South Korea and Zimbabwe, rounded out the selection of world leaders.

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Last year, TIME chose to have the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev write a piece on Putin, calling for a “change in the system of government” and “a real multi­party system, fair elections and regular rotation.” The not-so-veiled references had little effect; Putin handily won the March 2018 re-election. Maybe that’s why this time around, TIME dropped the subject altogether.

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