For the second year in a row, Forbes has named Vladimir Putin the most powerful man in the world, with President Obama coming in second and China’s Xi Jinping at third.
With the ranking, Forbes admits that Putin isn’t necessarily topping the list for positive reasons.
“No one would call Vladimir Putin a good guy. In 2014 he strong-armed his way into possession of Crimea and waged an ugly proxy war in neighboring Ukraine, during which an almost certainly Russian-supplied surface-to-air missile downed a civilian jetliner. But as the undisputed, unpredictable and unaccountable head of an energy-rich, nuclear-tipped state, no one would ever call him weak.”
Forbes insists that the rankings aren’t a “lineup of the most influential or anointing a new establishment. It is an evaluation of hard power.”
Putin was also named The Advocate’s Person of the Year this week, much in the same way that Adolf Hitler was named Time’s Person of the Year in 1938. The “honor” was bestowed upon him because, according to The Advocate, by “driving the governmental, religious, and popular disdain for gays and lesbians, the Russian president became the single greatest threat to LGBTs in the world.”
In mid-September, an annual gay-rights festival in St. Petersburg had to cancel most of its events after bomb threats and “attacks that saw antigay protesters squirt festivalgoers with an unknown gas and green dye.” And LGBT Russians continue to be harassed, attacked, or murdered.
“On September 7, Yekaterina Khomenko, a 29-year-old lesbian who taught tango lessons to same sex couples … was found dead in her car,” reported the Advocate, with “a four inch slash across her throat. Police initially called her death a suicide.” With Putin likely in power until 2024, it doesn’t appear that things are going to get better for the LGBT community any time soon.
Coming on the heels of these “accolades,” Putin is apparently exhibiting some of that “hard power” Forbes values so greatly.
According to the Guardian, Russian troops have now entered east Ukraine.
“A column of 32 tanks, 16 howitzer artillery systems and trucks carrying ammunition and fighters has crossed into eastern Ukraine from Russia, the Kiev military said on Friday,” the Guardian said, noting that violence has continued sporadically since a truce was reached in early September.
“We are aware of the reports of Russian troops and tanks crossing the crossing the border between Ukraine and Russia,” a NATO military officer told Reuters. “If this crossing into Ukraine is confirmed it would be further evidence of Russia’s aggression and direct involvement in destabilising Ukraine.”
Most powerful man in the world, but at what cost?