Vladimir Putin has been named by Forbes as the most powerful person in the world -- for the third year running. The former KGB operative beat American President Barack Obama, who placed third, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who came in second.
Forbes came to the decision on the basis that Putin was “one of the few men in the world powerful enough to do what he wants –-and get away with it,” while noting his 89 percent domestic approval rating, which has held steady despite biting international sanctions imposed after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.
“In October, he bombed ISIS forces in Syria and then met face-to-face with President Assad, making the US and NATO look weak in the region” the magazine wrote of its winner.
The 73-person list also featured Pope Francis (4), Chinese leader Xi Jinping (5) and philanthropist Bill Gates (6). The only ranked Briton was Prime Minister David Cameron, who appeared eighth behind Janet Yellen, chair of the US Federal Reserve.
Current Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump was ranked seventy-second on the list. North Korean despot Kim Jong-un came in forty-sixth.