Forbes came out with its list of the most powerful people in the world earlier this week.
US President Barack Obama came in second.
Russian President Vladimir Putin came in first.
For one, he has a remarkable grip on power. He became prime minister in 1999. That gig lasted until 2000, when he switched to president, which lasted until 2008. Then he became prime minister again — until 2012. He then went back to being the president of Russia, an office he’s held since May 2012.
He’s effectively run the world’s largest country by landmass for 15 years. In roughly the same period, the US has cycled through Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations.
While American presidents struggle with a foot-dragging Congress, Putin seems to do whatever he wants.
You could argue that, this year, Putin has executed the most flagrant displays of power yet.
Forbes editor Caroline Howard lists a few of his 2014 highlights:
• Putin annexed Crimea.
• Putin started a proxy war in Ukraine.
But wait, there’s more: Putin continues to keep European energy in a chokehold, and he hosted a (mostly) successful winter Olympics. Putin has even figured out the meaning of life, as expressed during the 15th Congress of the Russian Geographical Society.
“In general, love is the whole meaning of life, of being,” Putin said. “[Love for Russia] is exactly that most important task to which we must all strive towards, and I am absolutely convinced that success awaits us.”
In short, Putin went for it in 2014.
And he isn’t backing down from his ambitions, no matter what Obama, David Cameron, and the rest of the gang have to say.
“The bear isn’t asking anyone for permission,” Putin said of Russia in another recent speech. “The bear is considered a strong and a very traditional animal … (and) will not surrender.”
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