Who’s more powerful: the autocratic leader of a former superpower or the handcuffed commander in chief of the most dominant country in the world? This year the votes for the World’s Most Powerful went to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He climbs one spot ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama, who held the title in 2012.
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 — latest example: the government shutdown mess. Anyone watching this year’s chess match over Syria and NSA leaks has a clear idea of the shifting individual power dynamics.
This is the first year that Putin carries the crown. Obama has been on the top of the list for every year with the exception of 2010, when Hu Jintao, the former political and military leader of China, was No. 1.
The Most Powerful People in the World list is an annual snapshot of the heads of state, CEOs and financiers, philanthropists and NGO chiefs, billionaires, and entrepreneurs who truly rule the world. It represents the collective wisdom of top FORBES editors, who consider hundreds of nominees before ranking the planet’s top 72 power-brokers – one for every 100 million people on Earth — based on their scope of influence and their financial resources relative to their peers.