Putin Tops Obama as World's 'Most Powerful' Person

Image: Putin Tops Obama as World's 'Most Powerful' Person

Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 05:01 PM

By Cathy Burke

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President Barack Obama has lost his position as the "most powerful" person in the world to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Forbes magazine reported Wednesday.

Obama — his authority bruised by a failed Syrian strategy, a 16-day government shutdown and a near-default on the national debt — was nudged from the top spot in Forbes' annual list for the second time in his presidency.

"Putin has solidified his control over Russia, while Obama's lame-duck period has seemingly set in earlier than usual for a two-term president," the magazine said.

Forbes also noted Putin's success in averting threatened U.S. airstrikes against Russian ally Syria by proposing to secure Syrian President Bashar Assad's chemical weapons stockpile to prevent its use in his nation's civil war.

"Anyone watching this year’s chess match over Syria and NSA leaks has a clear idea of the shifting individual power dynamics," Forbes said.

The Obama administration was furious when former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was granted asylum in August by Russia after the fugitive leaked highly classified information about U.S. surveillance at home and abroad.

The Forbes list of 72 power brokers included 17 heads of state and 27 industry leaders, the youngest in each category being North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, 30, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 29.

Third on Forbes' list of the most powerful is Chinese President Xi Jinping, who became leader of the nation's Communist Party last year and president this year and is expected to preside over the world's most populous country for a decade.

Pope Francis, who succeeded Pope Benedict as Roman Catholic leader in March, was ranked No. 4, followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the highest-ranking among nine women on the list.

Forbes' top 10 is rounded out by Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Saudi Arabian King Abdullah, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, and Wal-Mart CEO Michael Duke.

Newcomers to the world's "most powerful" this year, in addition to the pope, are Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee (41), Volkswagen's Martin Winterkorn (49), South Korean President Park Geun-hye (52), IBM CEO Virginia Rometty (56) and Fed chairwoman nominee Janet Yellen (72).

Forbes started the annual listing of global power brokers in 2009.

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